Senators Introduce Bill to Permanently Cut Federal Abstinence Education Funding
by Steven Ertelt
September 30, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Two pro-abortion senators introduced a bill on Wednesday that would permanently cut federal abstinence education funding. Despite the evidence showing abstinence programs reduce sexual activity and help teens make positive decisions, Senator Frank Lautenberg and Representative Barbara Lee introduced the bill.
Lautenberg, a New Jersey Democrat, and Lee, a California Democrat, filed the Repealing Ineffective and Incomplete Abstinence-Only Program Funding Act.
Ty Cobb of the pro-abortion Human Rights Campaign hailed the legislation, because it "would end abstinence-only-until-marriage programs once and for all."
He complains that Congress, since 1996, has spent almost $1.5 billion on abstinence-only programs and appreciates the section of the bill that would de-fund abstinence programs proven ineffective by the language programs’ opponents put in the bill.
LifeNews.com talked with Valerie Huber of the National Abstinence Education Association, who panned the legislation as yet another attack on proven abstinence education programs and the wishes of most parents to fund them.
The bill would eliminate the only federal funding exclusively focused on the risk avoidance abstinence education message. It is unconscionable that Senators would even consider censoring skills that would help teens avoid all risks associated with sexual activity," she said.
"It is unfortunate that the cosponsoring Senators have become so ideologically motivated that they are willing to compromise the health of Americas youth in their pursuit," Huber added.
The bill would strip Title V from the Social Security Act, and rescind $50 million that has been appropriated to abstinence-only programs. Instead, it directs $125 million in funds for the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), which promotes contraception-based sexual education.
Huber also says the bill negates the abstinence education funding a majority of states have requested from the federal government.
"This year, more states requested this funding than any other time in recent years, which demonstrates overwhelming support for abstinence education," she said. "This is yet another indication that legislators are out of touch with how to spend taxpayer dollars.
Congress has adjourned for the November election season and, to move the legislation, Lautenberg and Lee would have to get lawmakers to approve the bill during the lame duck session or add it to another piece of legislation.
The study, The National Survey of Adolescents and Their Parents, was posted in August to the HHS website after significant grassroots pressure. It calls into question whether recent sex education policy decisions truly reflect cultural norms or clear evidence-based trends.
According to the findings, about 70% of parents agreed that it is against [their] values for [their] adolescents to have sexual intercourse before marriage and that having sexual intercourse is something only married people should do. Adolescents gave similar responses.
Looking further at the study, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), a division of HHS, funded a survey of 1,000 adolescents 12-18 years-old in order to measure parent-adolescent communication and adolescent attitudes toward sex and abstinence.
The study found parents strongly support the concept that sexual relations are best saved for a marital relationship and parents’ attitudes are more important in influencing adolescent views than the level of parent communication with their adolescent.
The American Public Health Association (APHA) highlighted the results on its web site: Adjusting for all other factors in the model, parent and peer factors are more consistently associated with differences in adolescent attitudes about sex and abstinence than are measures of adolescent exposure to sex and abstinence topics in a class or program."
However, during an APHA conference, researcher Lisa Rue, Ph.D., who specializes in adolescent behavior, was intrigued by the study and requested the full report. She was denied access and the Obama administration denied a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for it.
The National Abstinence Education Association responded by encouraging interested persons to submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the public release of a study.
"Hundreds submitted the request for openness regarding the study. As a result, HHS posted the entire study report," Huber of NAEA said
Related web sites:
Abstinence study results –
NAEA – https://www.theNAEA.org
Abstinence Works – https://www.abstinenceworks.org
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