Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) has introduced a bill – Repealing Ineffective and Incomplete Abstinence-Only Program Funding Act of 2013 (HR 3774) – this week that would end federal funding of abstinence-only programs and support comprehensive sexuality education.
“We need to get serious about educating our young people about sex,” said Lee. “Abstinence-only programs fail to address the challenge of unplanned pregnancies and sexually-transmitted infections among our youth, which have reached a critical level. We must ensure that we provide comprehensive sex education programs that have been proven to work, instead of throwing money away on programs that don’t.”
Since 1996, the US has spent almost two billion dollars in federal funding for abstinence until marriage programs under Title V of the Social Security Act, which allows the government to make grants to states for abstinence education. These programs are ineffective at teaching teens how to protect themselves from unintended pregnancies or sexually transmitted infections. Lee and several groups supporting the bill support comprehensive sexuality education instead, including education about contraceptives and STIs, through an Affordable Care Act program called the Personal Responsibility Education Program.
Media Resources: Congresswoman Barbara Lee Press Release 12/16/13; The Hill 12/17/13; Social Security Administration; Advocates for Youth; Feminist Newswire 11/4/13