Against Obama’s Wishes, Congress Poised to Fund Abstinence Education

National   Christine Eckley   Mar 27, 2014   |   1:21PM    Washington, DC

Today, the House passed a provision to continue Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) abstinence education across the nation.  The vote is significant because President Obama asked Congress to slash the program in the budget he recently sent to Congress. The Senate is expected to also approve the extension.

The program, the Title V Abstinence Education Program, is a state block grant that was originally signed into law by President Clinton as a part of the Welfare Reform Act in 1996. It is the largest, continuously funded abstinence program in the nation and is currently set to expire on September 30, 2014.

teencouple7Today’s bill extends the Title V program through fiscal year 2015. The same bill also extends a Sexual Risk Reduction (SRR) program, called the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) through fiscal year 2015.  The reauthorization of the abstinence program was included in H.R. 4302, the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014.

Valerie Huber, president/CEO of NAEA remarked: “We are pleased that the House voted to continue the important Title V Abstinence Education program, despite the fact that the President called for its elimination.  We are also pleased that the Senate appears poised also to vote to extend the program.”

An earlier Senate bill draft included an extension of the abstinence program, so NAEA anticipates similar support.

Huber added: “We are pleased that the health and well-being of millions of youth are finally put ahead of political gamesmanship. We appreciate that Members on both sides of the aisle are wiling to dismiss the draconian anti-abstinence requests made in the President’s budget.”

NAEA thanks the House leadership for today’s bill, especially that of Energy & Commerce Chairman Fred Upton and Health subcommittee chair Joe Pitts, for leading the efforts to continue this proven and holistic risk avoidance approach.

A full copy of the bill can be accessed here