Friday, April 2, 2010
Like cockroaches, abstinence-only education programs just will not die, no matter how many times they are proven to be a load of crap (I'm not buying the new studies that say they might work).
The health care reform legislation that President Obama signed includes a renewal of $50 million per year for five years for abstinence-focused education. That's $250 million to tell young people to put their chastity belts on.
RHRealityCheck has an explanation on how this funding made its way into the health care bill:
Here are some of the things we are hearing. Even though a number of prominent Democrats including Cong. Henry Waxman (D-CA) had contacted leadership and demanded that the ab-only programs be pulled from the bill, we’ve been told that leadership was focused on the "bigger issues" and never reached consideration of the ab-only piece.
Boy, does that ever smack of the “dog ate my homework” excuse. There was no rationale for keeping this amendment in the bill. Hatch is a Republican who opposes health care reform so there was no political need to placate the author of the measure. Taking Title V out of the bill would have saved a quarter billion dollars over five years and Democrats were desperate for savings so they could show that the bill would reduce the federal deficit.
Finally, we’ve been hearing that the recent publication of the Jemmott study showed that abstinence-only programs really work. One small problem with that line of thinking. Jemmott’s program would not qualify for Title V funding since it doesn’t follow the rigid, ideological eight-point definition—a point made by the authors themselves! So there is still no evidence those programs work; in fact quite the contrary.
This whole health care reform debacle is giving me an aneurysm.