May 7, 2009
Today, President Obama has put forward a budget that zeroes out failed abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. This is an incredible step forward. We commend his leadership, and now call on the Congress to follow the President’s example and bring this colossal waste of taxpayer money to an end.
We are also encouraged by the administration’s commitment to support a new initiative that embraces programs that have evidence behind them and work to help young people make responsible decisions like delaying sexual activity and using contraception when they do have sex.
Unfortunately, the exact language in the President’s budget for this new initiative remains narrowly focused on the silo of preventing teen pregnancy and fails to embrace programs that also help young people avoid acquiring a sexually transmitted disease, including HIV/AIDS. With one young person in this country becoming HIV positive every hour and an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases among adolescents, we need a broader approach to help adolescents make good, healthy, and responsible decisions.
We know the administration supports such a broad approach, but the current language fails in this regard and limits funded interventions to those that are focused primarily on teen pregnancy prevention. This myopic approach does not represent the current state of the research or the desire of the American people for the federal government to invest in comprehensive sex education.
We welcome this new initiative, provided that a broader and more comprehensive approach can be articulated, and we call on Congress to work with the administration to accomplish this important improvement to the language. Such an improvement can also ensure that failed abstinence-only-until-marriage programs cannot partake in the funding made available under this new initiative.
The President’s budget for Fiscal Year 2010 represents a significant step forward in supporting evidence over ideology. We look forward to working with the Obama administration and the Congress to ensure that this initiative fulfils the promise of a new approach and meets the needs of all young people.