Ten top public health researchers urged Congressional leaders last week to cut funding for failed abstinence only programs. The letter, signed by researchers from universities like Columbia and Yale, as well as from the Guttmacher Institute, was sent to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. It warned that abstinence only programs withhold “potentially life-saving information” about contraceptives and ignore the health needs of homosexual, bisexual and transgender youth, reports the Washington Times. Abstinence only programs also omit information on the use of condoms, which would aid in the prevention of spreading sexually transmitted diseases.
Abstinence only programs have come under increasing fire as studies reveal how ineffective they are. The US has spent about $1 billion on failed abstinence only programs in the past decade.
Many states, including New York, Maine and Pennsylvania, have rejected the matching federal abstinence only funds in favor of teaching comprehensive sex education. Virginia recently became the 14th state to do so, cutting the $275,000 from the state budget that is required to match federal abstinence-only funding.