Now’s Our Chance to Cut Funding for Abstinence-Only Sex Ed!

Luckily, Barack Obama’s budget left out Title V funding for abstinence-only education, and now the right wing is up in arms. And it’s going to the Senate Budget Committee today, so now it’s our turn to speak up.

According to Focus on the Family’s, “Republican Sens. Jim Bunning, Ky., and Lindsay Graham, S.C., plan to propose an amendment in the Budget Committee on Thursday to save a place for Title V in the 2010 budget.”

Haven’t we already gone over the fact that abstinence-only education doesn’t work? Whether or not you agree that teens should be having sex, several studies have shown that the programs offered are ineffective. “Although abstinence is a healthy behavioral option for teens,” said a report from the Journal of Adolescent Health, “abstinence as a sole option for adolescents is scientifically and ethically problematic.”

Abstinence may be a good choice for teens, but it should be just that—a choice. Title V education, established in 1996 by the Clinton Administration as an option for states who participate in abstinence-only education, takes that choice away from adolescents by not providing comprehensive sexuality education.

“States must provide $3 in matching funds for every $4 in federal funds, resulting in a total of up to $87.5 million available annually for these state programs. Abstinence education programs funded through this grant program teach an unambiguous abstinence message to youth. Programs receiving these funds may not endorse or promote contraceptive use.”  –Mathematica Policy Research Inc.

Though it originally expired in 2003, advocates have been able to renew the grant program on a yearly basis, and it is now set to expire on June 30 of this year.

And if all goes well, it won’t pass. But this is the time that we need your help. The following is a list from SIECUS of some friendly democratic offices. They need to be told we will no longer give our tax dollars for programs that are inaccurate and misleading:

Kent Conrad (ND), 202.224.2043
Patty Murray (WA), 202.224.2621
Ron Wyden (OR), 202.224.5244
Russ Feingold (WI), 202.224.5323
Robert Byrd (WV), 202.224.3954
Bill Nelson (FL), 202.224.5274
Debbie Stabenow (MI), 202.224.4822
Robert Menendez (NJ), 202.224.4744
Benjamin Cardin (MD), 202.224.4524
Bernie Sanders (VT), 202.224.5141
Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), 202.224.2921
Mark Warner (VA), 202.224.2023
Jeff Merkley (OR), 202.224.3753

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    Last night, the Senate Budget committee defeated the amendment by a vote of 13 to 10. Thanks to all who were able to call their Senators — it is just as important to now call and thank them as well.

    Next week (the week of March 30)it is likely this issue will surface again on the Senate floor but this vote represents a first, solid defeat for the failed abstinence-only-until-marriage industry.