The Affordable Care Act has not only made it more affordable for women to access preventative reproductive health care, it has made it possible for juveniles in South Dakota to have access to the scientific information necessary to make informed decisions about sex. That’s because federal funding will once again provide juveniles in detention facilities and foster care with access to sex education instead of the abstinence-only information previously available.
The ACA preserves some funding for abstinence-only instruction, but it also creates the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), which requires grant-recipient agencies to educate children on both abstinence and contraception.
South Dakota is not alone in receiving federal funding to teach sex education to troubled and at-risk youth. Forty-three states and territories are sharing $45.2 million in PREP grants from the federal government’s 2010 budgets. That’s in addition to the 29 states and territories that have received $33.4 million in Title V abstinence education grants.
The shift away from abstinence-only sex education is a crucial and important one in making sure our public health initiatives are founded on both qualitative and quantitative scientific information rather than religious dogma. Abstinence-only programs are a proven failure and it is long past time for our health policy move beyond them.
Photo from robertelyov via flickr.