The Senate Finance Committee approved an amendment that would provide millions of dollars to fund abstinence-only programs on a 12 to 11 vote last night. The amendment, sponsored by Senator Orin Hatch (R-UT), would allocate $50 million per year for such programs through 2014, according to the Washington Independent.
All 10 Republicans on the committee and Democratic Senators Kent Conrad (ND) and Blanche Lincoln (AK) voted for the Hatch amendment. Committee Chair, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), opposed Hatch’s amendment and offered his own amendment. The Baucus amendment would create a program that would include information on contraceptive options, abstinence, and life skills, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. The committee also voted to pass the Baucus amendment on 14 to 9 vote.
Before the entire bill can pass the Senate, both amendments approved by the committee must be reconciled. From there, the Senate and House versions of the legislation must be reconciled and voted on by both bodies.
Earlier this year, President Obama released a proposed budget for 2010 that included provisions that would greatly reduce funding for abstinence only programs and would provide funding for comprehensive sexual education programs.