Abstinence Only Programs
Federal Abstinence Only Programs Face Defunding
On July 10, 2009, the House Appropriations Committee's subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (Labor HHS) eliminated sources of funding for abstinence-only programs by passing the appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2010.
President Obama’s FY 2010 budget proposed on May 7, 2009 eliminated abstinence only programs by requiring evidence-based comprehensive sexual education programs.
According to the proposed budget (see PDF), "The 2010 Budget proposes a new Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative to support community-based and faith-based efforts to reduce teen pregnancy using evidence-based and promising models...This Budget eliminates funding for Community-Based Abstinence Education, the mandatory Title V Abstinence Education program, the Compassion Capital Fund, and Rural Community Facilities." Programs funded by 75% of this line item would have to demonstrate that they are comprehensive and evidence based. The remaining 25% is reserved for innovative programs that must be willing to submit themselves to evaluation.
Programs Shown to Be Ineffective, Even Harmful:
Abstinence-only sex education programs have come under fire because studies have shown they are ineffective and may even be harmful. The evidence is irrefutable that spending for abstinence-only education is not only wasteful, but also the programs put young women's health at risk.
A report released June 22, 2009 by the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and the Guttmacher Institute, reflects a rise in teen pregnancy rates in 2006 and 2007 and fewer teens using contraception. These appalling statistics should not come as a surprise. During this same time period, millions of dollars that could have been used to provide guidance based on age appropriate sex education in our schools and communities has been diverted for ideological reasons to failed abstinence-only programs.
A 2004 study by the House Committee on Government Reform, conducted at the request of Rep. Henry Waxman (D-30-CA) found that over 80% of the curricula used in the largest federally funded abstinence-only programs contained "false, misleading, or distorted information about reproductive health."