Friday, April 2, 2010

$250 million for abstinence-only education in health care reform  


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.

What next?

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13 comments: to “ $250 million for abstinence-only education in health care reform

  • April 5, 2010 at 1:29 AM  

    Coming from a catholic high school where abstinence-only was a highly taught ethic, I learned early on how that made sex even better to "rebel with" so to speak. I often heard stories and eventually an older student ended up pregnant. Not only was this an upset in our community and the way we were taught but it should have been an eye opener for parents. Bt it wasn't, and therefore we need to realize that abstinence only does not work and further measures need to be made. As pointed out in this article I feel as though it would make great contributions by not wasting money on funding things that don't work. We should think with our brains instead of pushing the obvious behind closed doors because of the scandal of it all. Open your eyes people, chastity belts don't work when there are clearly "babies having babies" all over the country. There are even shows about it! This makes a great point that further emphasis needs to be put on working sex-ed programs.

  • April 5, 2010 at 4:09 PM  

    What is Obama thinking? $250 million on abstinence-only classes? I think this is ridiculous and a waste of money. Sure, it would be lovely if everyone would take upon this, but the truth is, they won't. Schools already have health classes which include sex-education. Informing students these days aren't always the most effective tactics when it comes to trying to prevent them from doing something. Sex is natural. People do it. As a matter of fact, as the years go on, kids younger and younger are having sex. Sometimes telling kids that they shouldn't or can't do something just makes them want to even more. Sex education programs just need to further emphasis the cause and effects of sexual intercourse. Wasting $250 million on this is uncalled for; there are so many more things out in the world that could use that money to be fixed.

  • April 5, 2010 at 5:17 PM  

    I agree with Jenn to some degree. I believe that giving more money to abstinence only programs in school is wasteful, but I believe some money should still be spent on educating young adults. Maybe if the program was not strictly abstinence free, because in reality the kids are still going to try it. So some money on a general sex education in my view is the best route and teaching kids the consequences of irresponsible sex. And hopefully showing them the responsibilities of raising a child instead of using scare tactics.

  • April 5, 2010 at 9:58 PM  

    I agree with ems. Instead of teaching kids about sex and the proper way of being safe should be what is being taught. Taking that away from kids will be detrimental to the future. It will make kids WANT to do it because this idea makes them feel like they can't.

    I'm sure everyone has been told no they can't do something, which only made them want to do it more. Well that applies to this controversy as well. This "abstinence-only education" is not going to work and there will be a big increase in teen pregnancies because of it. Kids won't know how to be safe unless parents step up and teach their kids themselves.

    Everyone knows what really goes on in our world and they know that it's really happening. So instead of trying to hide it they should embrace it and teach the precautions and safety that it should involve. Come on people use some common sense here.

  • April 6, 2010 at 9:13 AM  

    I think that putting that much money into sexual education based on nothing but abstinence is a waste. I am all for Sex-Ed classes in schools and other programs but teach them real life things. I feel that most of the money put into the programs should be focused not only on abstinence but on birth control and other contraceptives. Most teens these days aren't waiting till marriage to have sex, they should be informed of ways to be safe and reduce the risk of pregnancy. Young men and women should know where they could go to get condoms and birth control. The more you force NO SEX NO SEX NO SEX down their throats the more they are not going to listen and will probably rebel against it.

  • April 6, 2010 at 9:17 AM  

    No matter what adults try to do, kids do what they want. I'm not quite sure how Obama thinks that spending money on having more in depth sex education classes is going to stop kids from having sex. Like everyone else here as already stated, trying to stop it will just cause more kids TO DO IT. Especially right now, with Americas economy in a rut, $250million dollars is quite a large chunk of money to be spending on an abstinence-only program in school. Today kids are influenced by the media about sex, hearing about abstinence-only would seem like a joke to them. With shows such as "16 and Pregnant" sex is not something that is just going to happen after marriage. Obama has the right idea of trying to further kids education about sex, but throwing down $250 million is too much.

  • April 6, 2010 at 10:16 AM  

    This is absolutely ridiculous to me. How could Obama think that spending 250 million for abstinence programs will actually work? We already know that they don't because the more you tell teenagers not to do something, the more they are going to want to! The best solution would be to spend money on safe-sex programs for teenagers because they are going to have sex either way. Why not just teach them to be safe about it? I think money would be better off spent that way.

  • April 6, 2010 at 10:19 AM  

    In my school they taught abstinence only sex-ed. My community was dominantly catholic and no one ever questioned it. However, my senior year there were more than 10 girls pregnant, in a school of less than 500 that's quite a bit. Now teenage pregnancy is becoming a real problem in my town. Many people including myself decided to write letters to the school board to urge them to also teach safe sex practices. The average age for marriage these days is hovering around 22 and 24. Do we really expect everyone to wait till their mid twenties to have sex?

  • April 6, 2010 at 11:15 AM  

    WOW! This is debatably where the argument concerning abortion begins. If the government wants to ignore the issue of sex among young teenagers then all they are doing is aiding the pregnancy epidemic among those young girls. Agreeably, abstinence is the most effective way to avoid every sexually transmitted consequence, however only teaching this does not paint anything but a false picture. The truth is, teenagers are going to have sex weather they recieve educational support from anyone. Avoiding this issue will result in pregnancy or worse, diseise. This just shows how incredibly stupid out government really is.

  • April 12, 2010 at 10:56 AM  

    I went to a very small ...VERY SMALL...public highschool and the only sex-ed class was a two hour pointless lecture given by a teacher in fourth and fifth grades. Abstinence is great yes, but are the government officials still virgins? Were they virgins going in to college? ..probably not. Teenagers get bored, have sex, and may or may not have consequences to deal with afterward. Abstinence is a choice, some kids may want to "rebel" against everyone telling them how horrible sex is, and some may do it because they want to be cool. The government knows these things but hey $250 million isnt THAT much money. oh wait, yes is!

  • November 20, 2011 at 6:16 PM  

    I too came from a Christian high school where we were adamentely taught that abstinence was the only way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. There was absolutely no lessons on safe sex and birth control. I feel like many people who truley believe that abstinence is the only way are living life with blinders on. We need to pour that $250 million into organizations that teach openly on sex before marriage and provide contranceptives to teenagers. We wrote about this in our blog and I invite you to check it out! Thanks for writing that peice.

  • June 7, 2012 at 4:35 AM  

    Thank for sharing:D

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  • August 30, 2012 at 6:26 PM  

    I agree with you, I think that is better invest $250 million dollars in anticontraceptives and sexual education related with anything for example erectile dysfunction or medications to treat some issues and not only in abstinence