02 Oct Good news! Abstinence Education is back in the federal budget.
In a narrow vote earlier this week, the Senate Finance Committee approved an amendment to reinstate abstinence education funds removed from the budget earlier this year by President Obama and abortion advocates.
The amendment, sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-UT, restores $50 million dollars in funding through new Title V state block grant programs. It passed by only a narrow 12-11 vote, but it is a hopeful sign for abstinence education advocates who were facing zero federal funding for 2010.
In May of this year, President Obama zeroed out all federal funding for abstinence education in his proposed budget for 2010 and replaced it with $104 million for a new “evidence-based” teen pregnancy prevention program. In the House, representatives offered an amendment that required some of this funding to go towards non-governmental abstinence education but it failed to pass. Two weeks later Title V federal funding for abstinence education expired, eliminating all federal funds for abstinence education.
Thus, the excitement over Tuesday’s vote, which restores the hope of funding for sex-education programs that actually works to protect those most susceptible to teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and other negative effects of teen sexual activity.
“The absence of an abstinence only education program has negative health consequences for our nation’s most vulnerable citizens,” Hatch 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.”
Unfortunately, the battle is not over. The amendment still needs a floor vote in the Senate. So there is still time to help.
If you want to join in the fight, visit Parents for Truth or the National Abstinence Education Association for information on advocacy. Or to learn more about the proven success of abstinence education, visit AbstinenceWorks.org.