Senate Finance Committee Reinstates $50 Million in Abstinence Education Funding
by Steven Ertelt
September 30, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — In a late Tuesday vote, members of the Senate Finance Committee narrowly approved an amendment to restore some of the abstinence education funds President Barack Obama and abortion advocates in Congress have removed from budget bills.
Sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, the amendment reinstates $50 million a year in abstinence funding through Title V state block grant programs.
Traditionally, abstinence education funding was extended along with funding for the Transitional Medical Assistance program, which extends Medicaid to families struggling to leave welfare, but President Obama zeroed it out in his budget proposal to Congress.
Hatch hailed the vote, which saw members of the panel vote 12-11 for his amendment.
Abstinence education works, Hatch said in a statement LifeNews.com received. My amendment restores a vital funding stream so that teens and parents have the option to participate in programs that have demonstrated success in reducing teen sexual activity and, consequently, teen pregnancies."
I laud the Senate Finance Committee for its strong bipartisan vote to ensure valuable programs such as these continue to help teach our children about healthy lifestyle choices," he added.
"The absence of an abstinence only education program has negative health consequences for our nations most vulnerable citizens," he explained. "Teenage pregnancy is a leading contributor to poverty, which in turn leads to poor health outcomes for mothers and children; sexually active teens are more likely to experience mental health issues such as depression or attempted suicide; and sexually active teens are more likely to suffer health consequences such as increased rates of infection with sexually transmitted diseases."
The National Abstinence Education Association lobbied for the Hatch amendment and told LifeNews.com it is pleased to see the language adopted.
"This positive bipartisan vote by the Senate insures that valuable programs teaching teens to make the healthiest choices regarding their sexuality will continue," the group said.
It is encouraging that the hard work of grassroots constituencies from across the country have prevailed to ensure these common-sense programs will continue, said Valerie Huber, executive director of NAEA.
Huber told LifeNews.com that the amendment will still need a floor vote in the Senate, so her organization’s job of promoting abstinence funding continues.
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