Newly-proposed legislation in Congress would restore federal funding for abstinence education as the Obama administration continues to discriminate against grants to programs that promote abstinence over sex education.
Recently, the Department of Health and Human Services announced new funding opportunities for initiatives on the subject, but included a caveat that grants would no go to agencies promoting abstinence education. Applicants for the FOA must include a written statement, according to a National Catholic Register report, that abstinence education is not part of the program, because the Obama administration considers it an “unallowable activity.”
Organizations receiving funding under the program must make a “commitment to not use funds for unauthorized activities, including, but not limited to, an abstinence-education program.” Some $75 million has been authorized under the Claims Resolution Act of 2010 for the programs.
Valerie Huber, director of the National Abstinence Education Association, told NCR that the policy is discriminatory, saying, “Preventing youth from receiving sexual-abstinence skills is very troubling and completely ignores the body of research that now links teen sex to future divorce in marriage.”
Huber says the ratio of federal taxpayer spending on sex education programs is now 16-1 against abstinence education.
“The unexplained hostility to risk-avoidance abstinence programs defies the evidence-based framework that the Obama administration purports to support,” Huber said.
“With the numerous sex scandals continually played out in the media, it is disturbing that programs encouraging self-restraint and self-respect are viewed as the enemy of the ‘healthy marriages’ these programs are designed to achieve.”
On Tuesday, legislation was announced on the floor of the House of Representatives that could change this and restore funding for abstinence education. The Abstinence-Centered Education Reallocation Act, sponsored by Rep. Randall Hultgren, an Illinois Republican, is a bill that will put a priority on the sexual risk avoidance message found in abstinence programs.
“Since President Obama chose to eliminate all funding for abstinence education, this bill is a welcome sign that sexual risk avoidance can once again be the primary prevention message that youth will receive in classrooms across America,” Huber told LifeNews.
Huber says the bill follows a recent HHS study, The National Survey of Adolescents and Their Parents, which reported that 70% of parents and nearly as many teens support the abstinence until marriage message. It also acknowledges the recent CDC report that shows teens are increasingly choosing abstinence with 68% of boys and 67% of girls ages 15-17 reporting that they have not had sex.
“NAEA applauds the leadership of Rep. Hultgren who has taken legislative action to support these positive trends in the healthy decisions teens are making,” added Huber. “We encourage other Members of Congress to co-sponsor the Abstinence Education Reallocation Act of 2011 and urge the House to quickly approve the federal sex education policy change called for in this bill.”