WASHINGTON (BP)--President Obama's proposed budget for 2010 would eliminate federal funding for abstinence education programs in public schools, replacing them with so-called comprehensive sex education programs that promote the use of condoms and other contraceptives among the nation's teenagers.
Under the plan, released May 7, Obama would cut more than $100 million in spending on abstinence-only education and create a new $110 million "teen pregnancy prevention initiative." Another $50 million would be directed to states for pregnancy prevention programs that rely on condoms.
Valerie Huber, executive director of the National Abstinence Education Association, told Baptist Press the new proposal does not make sense.
"As you know, teen births are starting to inch up again and STD rates are continuing to be at an epidemic level for teens, with at least one in four teen girls having at least one STD," Huber said. "Why would we at this time in particular take away anything that would provide teens with the skills to avoid that risk? It just doesn't make sense at all."
A report from the Department of Health and Human Services in December said that for every dollar being spent on abstinence education, $4 was being spent on comprehensive sex education in the nation's public schools.
"What the president is suggesting is that we completely zero out the primary prevention approach and just add even more dollars for risk reduction or what whatever you want to call it that has a pretty poor record for effectiveness," Huber said.
Some states have made clear they want to teach abstinence as a primary approach.
"He is completely eliminating a choice for those states and those communities," Huber said of the president. "It doesn't make sense unless this is purely a discussion of politics versus what's best for youth."
Huber said local support for abstinence education will enable it to continue. Read More