White House Official Claims Abstinence Education Could Still Qualify for Funding
by Steven Ertelt
May 12, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — President Barack Obama has come under heavy criticism for eliminating federal funding of abstinence education that helps teens avoid pregnancy and abortions. Now, an unnamed White House official claims abstinence education still qualified for federal funding under the president’s proposed budget.
"The President is deeply committed to reducing levels of teen pregnancy and believes that parents, families, communities, and the government must come together to address this issue," the official told CBN News national correspondent David Brody.
However, the official admitted that much of the funding normally reserved for abstinence-only education will go to comprehensive sexual education promoting birth control and contraception that has failed to reduce abortions.
"The budget increases overall funding for teenage pregnancy prevention, which may include education on abstinence, and supports programs based on research," the official said. "In the budget, 75 percent of funding in a new teenage pregnancy prevention program will be directed to programs that have demonstrated by rigorous research to prevent teen pregnancy."
The Obama official told Brody that abstinence education programs could potentially qualify for funding but would have to prove their worth in what could be a subjective test against comprehensive sex-ed programs.
"The rest of the funds will be directed to promising, but not yet proven, programs for which we have some indication that they achieve the goal of teen pregnancy prevention," the official said. "Those programs would have to agree to participate in a rigorous evaluation, and abstinence-only programs could qualify.
Brody indicates the Obama administration based its funding decisions on a highly-disputed study sponsored by pro-abortion Rep. Henry Waxman, a California Democrat who strongly opposes abstinence education programs.
The Obama budget eliminates funding for CBAE (Community Based Abstinence Education) and Title V Abstinence Education Program.
In Obama’s FY 2010 Proposed Budget, the president calls for at least $164 million in funding for contraceptive-only education. The money includes competitive grants, research, evaluation and authorization for $50 million in new mandatory condom grants to states, tribes and territories.
Leslee Unruh, president of the Abstinence Clearinghouse, previously told LifeNews.com that Obama’s decision "is a Hollywood-failed old approach that only increases teen pregnancy and damages America’s greatest resource, our children."
"I believe there will be a political backlash for those who oppose these life saving abstinence programs. The enemies of sexual integrity programs will feel the heat from the army of youth who have seen the light through these programs as they approach voting age," she added.
Unruh says abstinence education supporters will continue fighting for funding and will gather in strategic meetings that will take place in June.
Meanwhile, the National Abstinence Education Association said Obama’s anti-abstinence budget disregards the growing body of evidence supporting the effectiveness of abstinence education, including research showing a 50% decrease in sexual onset among teens that are enrolled in abstinence programs.
At a time when teens are subjected to an increasingly sexualized culture, it is essential that common-sense legislators from both sides of the aisle reject this extreme attempt to de-fund the only approach that removes all risk, said NAEA Executive Director Valerie Huber.
The abstinence funding included $110 million per year in discretionary spending and $50 million per year in mandatory spending often referred to as Title V funding.
This is the second time Obama has called for less abstinence funding. In the omnibus spending bill Obama signed earlier this year, abstinence programs received $95 million, a substantial reduction from the $151 million they previously received.
Related web sites:
Abstinence Clearinghouse – https://www.abstinence.net
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