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Obama Budget Proposal Would End Abstinence-Only Grants

Obama Budget Proposal Would End Abstinence-Only Grants

March 6, 2014 — President Obama's budget proposal for fiscal year 2015 would end grants to states for abstinence-only sex education programs, U.S. News & World Report reports.

Specifically, the budget blueprint, released on Tuesday, would eliminate $50 million in annual funding designated for abstinence-only education grants under the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148). It also would end the Competitive Abstinence Education program, which receives $5 million in annual funding.

According to U.S. News & World Report, Obama does not support abstinence-only sex education programs, despite funding them in previous budgets (Nelson, U.S. News & World Report, 3/5). He cut funding for the programs, a "hallmark" of the George W. Bush administration, in his 2010 budget, but Congress has restored the funding, including in its latest budget deal, CNN reports (Liberto, CNN, 3/5).

Reaction

Supporters of comprehensive sex education programs praised the budget proposal (U.S. News & World Report, 3/5). According to a 2007 federal study that tracked 2,000 adolescents over 10 years, abstinence-only programs do not prevent them from having sex.

Bill Albert, chief program officer for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, said, "Taxpayers want to know: Is my money going to something that's making a difference," adding, "In the grand scheme of things, $5 million doesn't amount to a hill of beans, but on the other hand, abstinence-only is not a program based on science."

More than $175 million annually goes toward other types of sex education programs, according to CNN (CNN, 3/5).

Meanwhile, supporters of abstinence-only sex education programs said they do not believe Congress will go along with Obama's proposal. National Abstinence Education Association President Valerie Huber said she is "very optimistic" that abstinence-only programs will continue to receive funding, citing past instances when Congress "chose to ignore" Obama's budget requests (U.S. News & World Report, 3/5).