Stacked Congressional Panel Blasts Abstinence Education, Urges Cuts

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 23, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Stacked Congressional Panel Blasts Abstinence Education, Urges Cuts

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 23
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — As backers of abstinence education predicted, a stacked panel filled with abstinence opponents told members of Congress on Wednesday that the programs don’t work and that Congress should cut their funding. But abstinence backers say Congressional leaders got a one-sided presentation.

The panel consisted of seven abstinence opponents and just two spokesmen supporting the programs.

Dr. Margaret Blythe of the American Academy of Pediatrics was one of the so-called experts presenting their views.

"Vast sums of federal monies continue to be directed toward these programs," she lamented, according to a Reuters report.

"And, in fact, there is evidence to suggest that some of these programs are even harmful and have negative consequences by not providing adequate information for those teens who do become sexually active," Blythe claimed.

The American Psychological Association and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, both of which have been embroiled in abortion politics, also issued statements condemning abstinence-only funding.

But lawmakers and pro-life groups countered their message saying studies show abstinence is effective in reducing teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.

Rep. John Duncan, a Tennessee Republican, told colleagues on the panel that he think’s it’s "rather elitist" that anti-abstinence activists would tell Congress to stop funding programs parents support.

Meanwhile, Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, called the hearing a "sham" that distorted the effectiveness of abstinence education programs.

He said the committee’s "hostility to abstinence education, heedless of studies showing positive outcomes, is exhibited by this biased hearing."

"It’s tragic that elected officials promote sex-ed programs that condone high-risk sexual behavior when it is our youth who suffer the consequences," he added.

The federal government currently spends $1.3 billion on abstinence education programs and hundreds of times more on family planning efforts that involve promoting contraception.

Rep. Henry Waxman, a top abortion advocate who chaired the panel, complained that abstinence-only programs are getting significant funding for classroom activities while sex-ed programs get none.

However, Congress spends hundreds of millions of dollars annually funding groups like Planned Parenthood to promote contraception and the morning after pill, and the abortion business frequently takes its message to local schools.

Perkins said such programs don’t work.

"Despite the enormous amount of money going to ‘comprehensive’ sex-ed programs than abstinence education programs, recent CDC data show that an alarming 40 percent of sexually active teen girls are infected with an STD," he said.

Some 17 states have decided to reject the abstinence funds from the federal government because their governors or state legislatures want to promote comprehensive sexual education.