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Let's Try This One More Time: Bill to Eliminate Ab-Only Funding Introduced (Again)

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Written by Martha Kempner for RHRealityCheck.org - News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice.

Today, Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Senator Frank Lautenburg (D-NJ) reintroduced the Repealing Ineffective and Incomplete Abstinence-Only Program Funding Act. The bill would kill the Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage program and funnel the money into more comprehensive, evidence-based programs designed to prevent teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV. 

If it seems to you that we’ve already eliminated Title V, you’re not wrong, yet somehow this program refuses to die. Title V was originally introduced under President Clinton as part of welfare reform.  It funneled $50 million dollars in block grants to states. States that chose to accept the money had to match each $4 from the federal government with $3 of state funds (or in-kind donations) and were then required to provide or fund abstinence-only-until-marriage programs that met a strict 8-point definition.  Among other things programs were required to tell young people that “sexual activity outside of the context of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects,” and that “bearing children out-of-wedlock is likely to have harmful consequences for the child, the child’s parents, and society.”

Advocates for sexuality education worked tirelessly to get rid of the funding and the programs it created, all of which were clearly based on ideology and not fact. ... Read more