Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Health Bill Restores Millions in Funding for Abstinence-Only Programs
Wash. Post: Health bill restores $250 million in abstinence-education funds, by Rob Stein:
A little-noticed provision of the health legislation has rescued federal support for a controversial form of sex education: teaching youths to remain virgins until marriage.
The bill restores $250 million over five years for states to sponsor programs aimed at preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases by focusing exclusively on encouraging children and adolescents to avoid sex. The funding provides at least a partial reprieve for the approach, which faced losing all federal support under President Obama's first two budgets.
"We're very happy to see that funding will continue so the important sexual health message of risk avoidance will reach American teens," said Valerie Huber, executive director of the National Abstinence Education Association, a Washington-based lobbying group. "What better place to see such an important health issue addressed than in the health legislation?"
But the funding was condemned by critics, who were stupefied by the eleventh-hour rescue. . . .