Abstinence-Only Funding Not Dead if Congress Plays “Hide-the-Salami” Again

Reproductive health advocates cheered the news Friday that President Barack Obama proposed cutting cut two abstinence-only sex education programs totalling over $100 million from the federal budget in lieu of more effective, comprehensive teen pregnancy prevention programs.

But the real test of wills comes in the Congressional conference
committee on the federal budget where one Democratic member has a
penchant for playing “hide the salami” with funding for the
controversial chaste-until-marriage program.

As we’ve reported previously, the labyrinthine budgeting process Congress has been giving it away big time — to the tune of now more than $1.3 billion for abstinence-only programs in the past 10 years.

We’ve long-documented the fancy footsteps of Rep. David Obey (D-WI), chair of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, who
slipped additional funding into a 2007 report prepared by the
conference committee — the body responsible for ironing out final
discrepancies between the House and Senate versions of the Labor,
Health and Human Services and Education budget bill before it goes to
the president.

Obey, a fierce proponent of “just say no to sex education,”
repeatedly crossed swords with reproductive health advocates in 2007
when he first attempted to boost funding for the Community-Based
Abstinence Education (CBAE) program to $141 million, a 25 percent
increase over last year.  In press accounts, Obey argued that the extra
funds are a necessary evil to placate conservative lawmakers in order
to make the larger spending bill veto-proof by then-President George W.

Whether Obey will abide Obama’s directive on the funding will be the
subject of close scrutiny by budget hawks, religious conservatives and
reproductive freedom groups, alike.

For her part, Denver Democrat Rep. Diana DeGette, a fierce advocate for
comprehensive sex education, said in a statement,
“Eliminating funding for ineffective abstinence-only programs
is a win for science. The Obama budget proposal invests in programs
that are effective and based on sound science, rather than wasting
millions of dollars on efforts that have been proven to be ineffective
at best.”

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  • invalid-0

    Get rid of the sap he’s a demothuglican and needs to be replaced by a Progressive. He’s a cheat and dishonest to the Democrat party. He runs on the Democrat Ticket and our good money supports this bum who, in reality is a Rethuglican!!!

  • http://booty-cache.com invalid-0

    Humans are sexual creatures. If you don’t believe me ask any priest. Seriously, if you expect people to twiddle their thumbs and just say no, you’ll end up with high pregnancy rates and STDs.

    • invalid-0

      Yes I am a sexual being, but the act of sex or sexual activity is only one component of my sexuality. Because i realize the dangers of sexual activity with more than one person over the years, I have decided to abstain and I have been for 7 years. This the best descision i have ever made. when i was sexually active i used condoms and i still contracted HPV. When they were giving me condoms at school they did not tell me even if i used the condom i could still get HPV which causes Cervical cancer.

  • jodi-jacobson

    Abstinence is a perfectly legitimate option for individuals.

    Not everyone chooses to be abstinent.  Both the choice to be abstinent and the choice to be sexually active are equally legitimate choices.


    The critical thing is for people to make informed choices. You obviously did not have effective counseling, however many years ago you received information on condoms in school.


    Most people–the majority of sexually active people–have some form of HPV. There are many different strains of HPV and not all of them necessarily lead to cervical cancer. So your statement is a bit sweeping. I thought it might be helpful to include this factual information on HPV virus from the American Society of Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology.  It is of course still critical to get pap smears regularly as indicated by your age and your health informed by your gynecologist.

    What is HPV?

    HPV is human papillomavirus. It is the most common viral sexually transmitted infection
    for both men and women. Some types of HPV are called “low risk”. Those can infect the
    skin around the genitals and cause genital warts. Other types of HPV are called “high
    risk”. When those types infect internal genital areas they sometimes cause precancerous
    or cancerous changes on the cervix (opening to the uterus) or vagina. “High risk” HPV
    can also cause precancerous changes on the external genital areas (vulva).


    How common is HPV?
    HPV is very common. Most men and women who have had sex get HPV. Fortunately,
    many HPV infections go away on their own without causing any problems for the
    infected person. Most infected people don’t even know they have had HPV.
    Is HPV infection serious?
    There are lots of different kinds of HPV, and most are not serious. Infection with a “low
    risk” virus can cause genital warts but will not produce major problems. However,
    sometimes “high risk” HPV infection can cause skin cells to grow abnormally. The
    growth may be precancerous and could eventually become a potentially serious problem,
    such as cancer of the cervix, vagina, vulva, or anus.


    How did I get HPV?
    You probably got HPV through skin-to-skin contact with an infected person during
    vaginal, oral, or anal sex. It is possible for a person to have HPV in skin cells and pass it
    on to another person even when no genital warts are present. Most people who have
    HPV do not have any signs of it and do not know they have it.