President Obama 2017 budget proposal nixes a long-standing effort backed by religious conservatives to skip comprehensive sexual education in favor of “abstinence-only” curriculum that simply tells students not to have sex. The proposal would eliminate a $10 million per year grant program run by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Obama’s proposal would also increase funding for teen pregnancy initiatives, maintain funding for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Adolescent and School Health, and extend the Personal Responsibility Education Program for five more years.
Jesseca Boyer, interim president and CEO of the The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the US, responded in a statement, saying, “SIECUS is grateful for President Obama’s leadership in seeking to end abstinence-only-until-marriage funding once and for all. After three decades and nearly $2 billion in federal spending wasted on this failed approach, the President’s proposed budget increases support for programs and efforts that seek to equip young people with the skills they need to ensure their lifelong sexual health and well-being.”
Research has proven that abstinence-only campaigns have been unsuccessful at preventing teen pregnancy or sexual activity. The programs are usually religiously driven and don’t feature any actual educational components.