Yesterday Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) reintroduced the Repealing Ineffective and Incomplete Abstinence-Only Program Funding Act, which would transfer all funding for Title V abstinence-only program to the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP). The would strike a provision of the Social Security Act that has enabled funding for abstinence-only programs since 1996 and would redistribute $50 million annually to sex education programs through the PREP program, which funds comprehensive, evidence-based programs that include information not only on abstinence, but also on contraceptives and sexually transmitted infections.
Monica Rodriguez, president and CEO of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SEICUS), stated, “The focus of the government this year needs to be on increasing the health and well-being of our nation’s young people by smartly investing in health education programs that work and eliminating wasteful programs that don’t serve any purpose but to line the pockets of special interests. Eliminating the failed and ineffective Title V abstinence-only programs so we can concentrate on bringing real, comprehensive sexuality education to young people is a good step in achieving these goals.”
Over the past 15 years, Congress has allocated more than $1.5 billion in federal funds to absence-only programs. Title V abstinence funding originally expired in June 2009, but was reinstated by an amendment to the 2010 Affordable Care Act.