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Just Kidding! Health Care Reform Includes Money for Abstinence-Only Education

Just Kidding! Health Care Reform Includes Money for Abstinence-Only Education

Almost a year ago, I read some fantastic news: Obama’s budget eliminated funding for abstinence-only sex education.  This is something that I and many others have written about extensively, and certainly not just on Care2.  Even in the wake of statistics from last February that seemed to indicate that abstinence-only sex education might be delaying the point at which teens had sex, it actually showed how necessary comprehensive sex education (which does include discussions of abstinence) is.  In fact, the “abstinence-only” program was really “abstinence-plus” – which would not have received funding under this legislation.

Which is why it was so, so bitterly disappointing to read that the newly passed health care reform bill included a renewal of $50 million in funds every year over the next five years for abstinence-only sex education.  These programs must “teach that abstinence from sexual activity is the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and other associated health problems,” according to the Department of Health and Human Services. To qualify, they must also teach that sex before marriage is “likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects.”

Comprehensive sex education (which, inexplicably, is being called “personal responsibility education” in the bill – really, are we so afraid of saying “sex” aloud that we can’t include the word in our legislation?) is receiving $75 million a year, which is a definite improvement, but I find it absolutely absurd that abstinence-only education is receiving this amount of funding (or any, for that matter), when it has been proven time and time again that it just doesn’t work.  Period.  I’m all for working across the aisle, but this was clearly a compromise to get the bill passed, and I’m saddened by the fact that this is one of the places where progress was erased.  Let’s continue to fight for real sex education in our schools – and an end to funding for programs that just promote shame and guilt about sex, rather than providing real information.

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177 comments

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9:35AM PDT on Apr 12, 2010

thanks

3:29PM PDT on Apr 11, 2010

Thanks for posting the article.

2:39PM PDT on Apr 11, 2010

Abstinence-only does not work, the kids need to be educated about sex and given REAL information about it!...

3:40PM PDT on Apr 10, 2010

thanks! for anyone who's interested here are some other great sites to click for good causes
http://www.cleanbreath.org/
http://www.change.org/
http://www.grist.org/
http://takepart.com/
http://www.bettertheworld.com/dashboard
http://www.socialvibe.com/

6:46PM PDT on Apr 8, 2010

I am stumped on this one. I never got any sex education and managed to come out the other side but I also believe when you leave something mysterious than it will become more intriguing. I really think parents need to step up. This should not be left for public officials to be handling. Maybe a free online class. Something has got to give though. It is heartbreaking to see how some kids grow up without the tools they need to navigate the world today.

1:55AM PDT on Apr 8, 2010

thanks for post

11:50PM PDT on Apr 7, 2010

Abstinence is truly the only way to 100% prevent pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases. Sure teens should be taught the advantages of birth control, but nothing out there can prevent pregnancy by 100%. The same goes for getting STD's. Nothing is 100% besides not having sex or sexual relations. These kids need to know this. They're going to make their own choices anyway.

11:20PM PDT on Apr 7, 2010

the money should be used for a proper sex education. abstinence only doesn`t work.

9:19PM PDT on Apr 7, 2010

Alexander T, I've just provided a long post arguing your comments in the Animal Welfare section, and I kinda feel bad, because here I agree 100%. We've tried teaching abstinence. It hasn't worked. Let's move on a find something that does, yah?

9:18PM PDT on Apr 7, 2010

I agree

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