Bush Administration Targets Sex Education Group

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will conduct the Bush administration’s third review of Advocates for Youth in the past year. The CDC claims it is investigating Advocates for Youth, a comprehensive sex education organization, for possible misuse of federal grant funds for lobbying efforts against abstinence-only sex education policies, according to the Washington Post. However, the group argues that it is being targeted because it disagrees with Bush’s stance on sex education and condoms. “What we’re concerned about is that it appears that the selective and political use of the audits is to intimidate those organizations that are standing up for comprehensive sex education and are opposed to abstinence until marriage programs,” Bill Barker, a spokesperson for Advocates for Youth, told the Associated Press. Barker told the Post that although the group has received CDC grants for the past 15 years, they have never had any requests for reviews or audits until this past year.

This particular audit of Advocates for Youth was prompted by a complaint from Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA), a proponent of abstinence-only sex education, that the group may have used federal funds in the creation of a new website against increased funding for abstinence-only education, www.NoNewMoney.org. The Post reports that Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) wrote a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson calling the audit politically motivated, writing, “While Advocates for Youth will have opened its books three times in the last year, it appears that comparable organizations that routinely support Bush Administration policies have not experienced any such review … In short, whether a group believes that abstinence is the only acceptable means of achieving AIDS prevention seems to be the determining factor in these auditing decisions.”

Advocates for Youth is not the only group facing increased scrutiny by the Bush administration. A report released by OMB Watch earlier this month highlights many instances of groups that disagree with Bush policies being targeted by audits and reviews, as well as receiving misleading information about whether groups can lobby with non-federal funds. Groups that promote condom use as a way to prevent HIV/AIDS, STIs, and pregnancy are facing especially increased scrutiny.

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Washington Post 8/16/03; Associated Press 8/16/03

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