June 10, 2005 – A US House of Representatives subcommittee requested that federal spending on abstinence-only sexual education programs be pushed above $200 million in next yearâ€™s budget. Yesterdayâ€™s act by the Appropriations sub-Committee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies came in a bill mark-up session in advance of Congressional debate over the 2006 budget.
The increase in public funding for education programs that focus on abstinence as the only way to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases follows a flood of information suggesting that such programs have failed to stem unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
Last December, the Committee for Government Oversight reported that 80 percent of abstinence-only education programs contained false and misleading information. A majority of these programs left students uninformed about the changes their own bodies undergo during puberty and unaware of the costs of unwanted pregnancies.
Yesterday, a researcher with Case Western Reserve University released a report demonstrating a repeated pattern of misinformation about the use of condoms and other contraceptives in Ohioâ€™s abstinence-only sexual education programs.
Some such programs teach that AIDS can be transmitted through saliva and sweat, a factually incorrect assertion. Others dramatically overstate the failure rate of condoms.