by Steven Ertelt
November 22, 2004
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — President Bush in his State of the Union speech in January asked for Congress to significantly increase abstinence education funding in the next budget. With the omnibus Congressional spending bill just passed by Congress, he’s getting his wish.
The final version of the bill approved by both the House and Senate included just over $104 million for the community-based abstinence education grants
That’s a 39% increase beyond the $70 million that was approved in the fiscal year 2004 version of the bill.
The total funding for abstinence programs under the bill rises to $173 million, another record level, with the rest of the funds sent to states in block grants for public abstinence education programs.
In his State of the Union speech, President Bush asked that funding for federal abstinence programs be doubled now and tripled by 2005.
Bush said he wanted the extra funding "so schools can teach this fact of life: Abstinence for young people is the only certain way to avoid sexually transmitted diseases."
The Abstinence Clearinghouse thanked members of Congress for their "record level of funding" for the teen programs.
According to the group, the "grants are designed to fund programs that target 12-18 year olds with the message of abstinence until marriage. The programs must follow the eight-point definition for abstinence education, which was legislated in the 1996 welfare reform legislation."
However, a leading abortion advocacy group blasted the abstinence funding increase.
In a statement released Tuesday, NARAL claimed abstinence-only education programs "censor discussion of contraception’s health benefits leaving teens ill equipped to protect themselves against pregnancy and disease."
A new study by the Heritage Foundation tracked teenagers over four years and compared teens who took an abstinence pledge with those who didn’t.
The study found, after three separate periods of analysis spaced years apart, that pledgers were one-third less likely than non-pledgers to have sex before the age of 18.
The Heritage study also revealed that teens who kept their pledge to abstain from sexual relations were 50% less likely to have out-of-wedlock births than non-pledgers and were less likely to have a sexually transmitted disease.
A January 2004 Zogby International poll shows parents overwhelmingly support abstinence education for teenagers.
Out of the 1,004 parents surveyed across the nation, 96 percent said abstinence is best for teens. The vast majority of American parents want their children’s sex education classes to emphasize abstinence until marriage, according to poll, which was commissioned by Focus on the Family.
Only 39.9 percent thought that abstinence and contraception should be combined in a single class.
Once the president signs the bill, the administration of the abstinence grants will move from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau to the Administration for Children and Families.
Related web sites:
Abstinence Clearinghouse – https://www.abstinence.net