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Defunding Abstinence-Only Failure

It’s time for some good news about someone doing something right on Capitol Hill. We’re given the opportunity for a positive story this morning by U.S. Representative Barbara Lee, and a small group of allies in the House of Representatives.

Yesterday, Representative Lee introduced H.R. 3774, the Repealing Ineffective and Incomplete Abstinence-Only Program Funding Act. The bill would, as its name suggests, end federal funding for abstinence-only educational programs.

Abstinence-only educational programs were designed to replace comprehensive sex education, or to prevent comprehensive sex education programs from ever being put into place. Abstinence-only programs refuse to inform students about contraception and other methods of safe sex, telling students only that they must not have sex until they get married.

Research has consistently suggested that abstinence-only education is ineffective in preventing sexual activity or slowing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Given this failure, it’s irrational for federal government to continue propping up abstinence-only programs in public schools. Yet, the wasteful spending has continued because abstinence-only programs are in accord with the religious beliefs of many members of Congress.

It’s fine for individuals to make decisions about sex according to their own religious beliefs, of course. It’s not acceptable, however, for the religious beliefs of a minority of Americans to warp the educational process for the nation as a whole.

Joining Representative Lee in supporting the Repealing Ineffective and Incomplete Abstinence-Only Program Funding Act are James Moran, Gwen Moore, Jan Schakowsky, Lois Capps, and Sam Farr.

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