Legislation Introduced to End Abstinence-Only Funding
Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced legislation this week that would end federal funding for abstinence-only programs. The bill would strike a provision of the Social Security Act that has enabled funding for abstinence-only programs since the mid-1990s. It would redistribute $50 million annually to sex education programs through the Personal Responsibility Education program (PREP), which funds comprehensive, evidence-based programs that include information not only on abstinence, but also on contraceptives and sexually transmitted infections. Overall, it would provide $125 million in funding for PREP, which is $70 million more than current funding of the program, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
In a press release, Congresswoman Lee said "We cannot afford to keep our head in the sand regarding issues surrounding sex education by restricting funding to abstinence-only programs...The issues of unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections among our young people have reached a critical level. The best and most responsible way to protect them is through comprehensive sex education." Senator Lautenberg said, "Young adults need access to all the information available to make smart decisions about their health. Our nation's young people should be able to get the education they need to take on the real life situations facing them every day."
According to SIECUS, the Title V abstinence funding originally expired in June 2009, but was reinstated in the healthcare reform legislation.
Media Resources: Senator Frank Lautenberg Press Release 9/29/10; Human Rights Campaign 9/30/10; SIECUS Press Release 9/29/10