Feb. 10, 2005 – Rights groups are slamming the Bush administration over a request in the presidentâ€™s proposed budget for a $29 million increase for abstinence-only sex education programs but no federal money for comprehensive sex ed, including curriculum teaching young people about both abstinence and contraception. If Congress approves the expenditure, it will bring the amount available for abstinence-only programs to $206 million in 2006.
The presidentâ€™s request arrives on the heals of a congressional report, commissioned by Representative Henry Waxman (D-California) that many of the abstinence only programs currently receiving federal funding provide misleading and inaccurate information to students (previous coverage).
"It isn't the â€˜abstinenceâ€™ we object to, itâ€™s the â€˜only,â€™ said President Karen Pearl, interim president of Planned Parenthood Federation on America. "Abstinence should be part of any responsible sex education program, but it is deeply irresponsible to omit lifesaving, medically accurate information that teens critically need."
Waxmanâ€™s report analyzed the thirteen most widely used, federally funded abstinence education curricula and found that eleven contained major errors and distortions of public health information. Health departments, school districts, hospitals and community organizations in 25 states use the erroneous curricula.
In related news, Democrats introduced bills in the House and Senate that would provide federal funding for comprehensive sexuality education that includes information on abstinence and contraception.