Obama Just Eliminated Abstinence-Only Sex Ed From The Federal Budget

Photo: REX/Shutterstock.
President Barack Obama cut all funding for abstinence-only sex ed in public schools from his proposed 2017 budget, released last week. And to that, we say finally.

In addition to eliminating a $10 million per year grant program for abstinence-only education, the final budget of the president's administration maintains funding for the CDC's Division of Adolescent and School Health, increases funding for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, and seeks to extend the Personal Responsibility Education Program by five years, according to a statement released by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. (SIECUS).

"SIECUS is grateful for President Obama’s leadership in seeking to end abstinence-only-until-marriage funding once and for all," SIECUS's vice president for policy, interim president, and CEO, Jesseca Boyer, said in the statement. "After three decades and nearly $2 billion in federal spending wasted on this failed approach, the [p]resident’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."

Although Congress has spent more than $1.5 billion on abstinence-only sex ed over the past 25 years, researchers have found time and time again that the approach doesn't work. It fails to impact teen sexual behavior or HIV rates and even correlates positively with increased rates of teen pregnancy and STIs. What's more, research suggests that the vast majority of Americans actually support sex-ed programs that both emphasize abstinence and encourage contraceptive use.

Obama's proposed budget is a landmark step toward education that addresses teens' needs and aligns with Americans' priorities. But the battle, of course, is far from over: The Republican-controlled Congress has until October 1, the start of the fiscal year, to debate the 2017 budget.

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