Abstinence Education Funding is Back, Thanks to Health Reform Bill

Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Abstinence: 99.999% effective (Madonna and Child by Jacopo Bellini)

Lost amid the last-minute lobbying and sheer size of the healthcare reform legislation was a provision approved by Congress granting $250 million over five years for states to fund abstinence programs. Supporters of such programs have had trouble making headway in Washington since President Barack Obama took office, following years of backing from the Bush administration. But the politicking it took to get healthcare reform through the House and Senate proved the ideal opportunity for abstinence proponents to win out.

Opponents were not happy. “To spend a quarter-billion dollars on abstinence-only-until-marriage programs that have already been proven to fail is reckless and irresponsible,” James Wagoner of the Washington group Advocates for Youth told The Washington Post. “When on top of that you add the fact that this puts the health and lives of young people at risk, this becomes outrageous.”
After fifteen years of steady decline, the teen pregnancy rate began to rise again in 2006, the most recent year for which full statistics are available.
-Noel Brinkerhoff


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