Obama Kills Funding For Wasteful Abstinence-Only Education

Now that it’s his last year in office, President Obama appears to have finally figured out that there’s pretty much nothing he can do to appease conservatives, and is finally throwing down on some things. And one of those things is removing all government funding for abstinence-only education in public schools. Why? Because it doesn’t work! If it did, the states with abstinence-only policies would not simultaneously have the highest rates of teen pregnancy.

In his proposed budget for 2017, Obama has eliminated a $10 million-a-year grant from the Department of Health and Human Services that funds these programs.

At the same time, according to a statement by The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S., the President’s budget increased funds for comprehensive sex-ed programs that actually do work.

SIECUS is grateful for President Obama’s leadership in seeking to end abstinence-only-until-marriage funding once and for all. After three decades and nearly $2 billion in federal spending wasted on this failed approach, the President’s proposed budget increases support for programs and efforts that seek to equip young people with the skills they need to ensure their lifelong sexual health and well-being.
SIECUS also applauds the President’s proposed $4 million increase for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, helping communities implement evidence-informed and innovative strategies to support the sexual health of our nation’s youth.”

The continued funding for the Division of Adolescent and School Health and request for future Personal Responsibility Education Program funding demonstrates this administration’s commitment to secure the right to quality sexuality education for young people.

It’s clear — and, in fact, understandable — that the people who support abstinence-only education really, really, really want it to work. They feel like giving kids information about safe-sex and birth control is like giving up, and that the moral thing to do, regardless of consequences, is to take a hard stance that “teens shouldn’t be having sex, ever.” They have big hopes that by having a teacher pass around a cup and instructing each child to spit in it and then announcing “That’s you if you have sex with anyone but your future spouse!,” and that making them participate in bizarre wedding-like rituals where their fathers promise to watch over their hymens, that teens will decide to save themselves for marriage.

But it doesn’t work! And everyone knows it doesn’t work! Because we were all teenagers once, and we all know what was up with the “holy” kids. It didn’t work for Bristol Palin, and it’s not working for anyone else, either. The important thing is to make sure that if teens do decide to be sexually active, that they have the tools and information to keep themselves safe and prevent unwanted pregnancies.

Congress has until October 1st to debate the budget, but hopefully this is something we’ll get through.