Obama Attempts to Dump Federal Funding for Abstinence-Only Education

President Barack Obama may be on his way out the door in less than a year, but he’s still willing to take one final swing at abstinence-only education before he leaves. In his 2017 budget proposal, the president has eliminated a $10 million grant earmarked for abstinence-only education in public schools. Instead, the proposal reallocates some of that money to other more effective programs like the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program.

Sadly, the budget proposal by no means indicates that sex-education is done in America. States – and I think you know which ones – can still choose to assign their own tax dollars to these programs, they would just have to fund them without the assistance of the federal program. Still, losing that federal money could be enough to dissuade states that are more on the fence on this subject to pursue more comprehensive sex-ed curriculums instead.

Most likely, however, states will still receive this federal money anyway. Obama’s budget proposal is just that – a proposal… a proposal that Congress has to approve, no less. Given the conservative majority in both the House and the Senate, it’s not all that likely the members of Congress will take Obama’s suggestions on sexual education seriously.

In fact, this latest proposal is hardly the first time Obama suggested ditching federal abstinence-only grants. He’s attempted to get rid of it repeatedly in previous budgets. Time after time, however Congress has either put the money back in their final bill or shuffled it to alternate abstinence-education programs.

It’s a shame because all of the data reviewing these programs is not encouraging. Teens in states with abstinence-only programs are 60 percent more likely to get pregnant accidentally. Moreover, students in these programs started having sex at the same age as their peers who received more extensive sexual education, and with as many partners. If they’re having the same amount of sex anyway, what is the point in not informing them about contraceptives?

Abstinence-only education started receiving federal dollars thanks to President Ronald Reagan in 1981. Since then, the money for these programs has steadily increased, even growing “exponentially” during President George W. Bush’s tenure. Despite a wealth of evidence to suggest that this educational approach is unsuccessful back in the early 2000s, it wasn’t until Obama took office that anyone tried to pull funding.

Parents and politicians can pretend all they want that teenagers won’t have sex if they tell them not to, but that doesn’t make it true. It’s bogus to allocate tens of millions of dollars to educational programs that don’t work just to fuel people’s willful delusions.

Hopefully, Obama’s abstinence-only budget slashing will defeat the odds and be accepted by Congress. If not, may the next president continue to push to ensure all students have access to comprehensive sexual education so that they can make smart and healthy decisions for themselves moving forward.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

103 comments

Joon m.
Past Member 11 months ago

Your blogs and every other content are thus interesting and helpful it makes me returnpay for my essay

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus C12 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Tom M.
Tom Mabout a year ago

@ LF F:

The underlying paradigm of a Christian worldview is moral relativism. For example, there is no biblical basis to suggest having sex with a minor is wrong and that is reflected in the attitude of people from other times and cultures. There is no God law prohiniting the practice. A Christian worldview is morally relativistic, even more so than an atheist worldview. What we view as wrong now (and rightfully so) -- such as child brides -- was perfectly acceptable in biblical times. And praticed as such!

So stop touting "christian based morals" if you don't know what you're talking about. They are as relativistic as any other set of morals laying around.

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Sarah Hill
Sarah Hillabout a year ago

LF is exactly right. The only way to 100 % prevent pregnancy and STDs is abstinence.

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LF F
LF Fabout a year ago

Its a shame Christian based morals get bashed continually but agnostic is ok for some reason. Respect our religion and we will respect yours or nonbelief. We still deserve rights to spread our beliefs. Let Christian based belief keep their programs

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Amanda M.
Amanda Mabout a year ago

Sadly, we live in a county that has an abstinence-based sex ed program, and the people in charge wonder why we have the fourth-highest teen pregnancy rate in the entire STATE of Maryland? Here's a three-word solution: COMPREHENSIVE SEX ED! Studies have clearly shown that students in abstinence-based sex ed programs have a much higher rate of STDs and teen pregnancy than those who get comprehensive sex ed. What's more, people forget that these teenagers are gonna grow up and get married someday. Even if you plan to stay a virgin until you marry, you're still gonna need to know about contraception in order to plan the size of your family (unless you're of the Duggar mentality that treats women like tongueless brood mares). Knowledge is power, and I'm gonna fight tooth and nail to ensure that my daughters will have scientifically accurate knowledge, not church-based crap!

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Deborah Servey
Deborah Serveyabout a year ago

I'm not joining in on the arguments here, I', just going to say this and let you ponder it. A good friend's granddaughter and her boyfriend exchanged those purity rings, and sort of , kind of kept their promise to not have sex. They did everything BUT have actual sex. The excuse was that all of their friends in this group or school that pushed the purity rings were having a field day doing every except have actual sex.....b/c after all if they had these rings, which were to symbolize abstinence, then it wasn;t really sex.

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Veronica Danie
.about a year ago

Thanks!

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Regus Slantei
Regus Slanteiabout a year ago

-- cont. --

.....and that young people who have been subjected to abstinence indoctrination are prone to parrot the tenets of that indoctrination back to the adults, WITHOUT ANY PROOF THAT THE ACTUAL CURRENT OR FUTURE BEHAVIOR OF THESE YOUNG PEOPLE WERE ANY DIFFERENT THAN OTHER YOUNG PEOPLE!!!!!

Now for those keeping score, an even more revealing finding from this article of Dan's choosing is that (with every bit of the same marginal significance that is claimed for some of the other findings in the article) THERE WAS A DECREASE IN THE INTENTION OF THE STUDENTS WHO RECEIVED THE 'INTERVENTION' TO USE CONDOMS WHEN THEY DID HAVE SEX. Please do re-read that!

So quite disturbingly, if we are to believe Dan that abstinence-only education has been found to be "successful" because of this article that he chose to reference, we must accept into our definition of "success" the crazy notion that young graduates of "abstinence" education will preferentially NOT use condoms, and therefore be subjected to increasing rates of STDs, in the future.

Dan has once again, in his blind stupidity, lead us down the primrose path of yet more [R] double-speak. 'Failure' is 'success', and 'success' is 'failure'.

Dan is constantly whining that I disparage him. But, really, how can it be otherwise, given his incessant use of his disabled intellect in the service of a malignant ideology?

Cletus

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Regus Slantei
Regus Slanteiabout a year ago

Margaret,

Dan B. is nothing, if not predictable. And as predicted, in order to defend his **BELIEF** in abstinence-only sex education, Dan B. has attempted to construct a narrative out of cherry-picked factoids.

This time he scrambled to locate a random reference on the web, which apparently has the right words that he can spin as "evidence" for the "success" of abstinence-only sex education.

Unfortunately, Dan does not have the wherewithal to understand the statistical analyses used in the article/study he referenced, and so absent that understanding he merely seeks solace in the abstract/summary of the article which contains a few words that imply some evidence of "success" was found in a study of abstinence-only "intervention" in middle school students.

But what REALLY defined "success" in this study? A careful reading of the article reveals that the ONLY statistically significant results of this study were that (relative to a group of students that had no "intervention") the student receiving the "intervention" were more likely: (a) to be more knowledgeable about STDs; and (b) to profess an 'intention' to remain abstinent until older. So let's summarize: "success" here means that students receiving some sex education were better informed about STDs than ones receiving no sex education, and that young people who have been subjected to abstinence indoctrination are prone to parrot the tenets of that indoctrination back to the adults, WITHOUT ANY PROOF THAT TH

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