Proponents of sex education classes that focus on encouraging teenagers to remain virgins until marriage are hoping that the rescue plan for the nation's health-care system will also save their programs, which are facing extinction because of a cutoff of federal funding.
The health-care reform legislation pending in the Senate includes $50 million for programs that states could use to try to reduce pregnancies and sexually transmitted disease among adolescents by teaching to them to delay when they start having sex.
Under the federal budget signed by President Obama, such programs would no longer have funds targeted for them.
"We're optimistic," said Valerie Huber of the National Abstinence Education Association, which is lobbying to maintain funding for the programs. "Nothing is certain, but we're hopeful."
Critics of sex education programs focused on abstinence, however, are fighting to permanently end funding, saying there is clear evidence that the approach is unsuccessful.
"This is a last-ditch attempt by conservatives to resuscitate a program that has been proven to be ineffective," said James Wagoner, president of Advocates for Youth, a Washington-based advocacy group. "This is the failed abstinence-only model that research has shown is ineffective."
During President George W. Bush's administration, abstinence programs received more than $100 million a year directly in federal funding and about $50 million in federal money funneled through the states. But the effort came under mounting criticism when studies concluded that the approach was ineffective and signs emerged that the long decline in teen pregnancies was faltering.
As part of Obama's first budget, Congress approved a request for more than $110 million for a new "teenage pregnancy prevention" initiative that would only fund programs that have been "proven effective through rigorous evaluation," which would effectively eliminate abstinence programs. The program would be run by a new Office of Adolescent Health in the Health and Human Services Department.
Yeah, let the teenagers continue to run wild, have sex and either get pregnant or contact an STD, after all it's the liberal way to teach our youth that their hormones should control them, not the other way around. Then too, maybe abstinence-only programs have proven to be "ineffective" because it's still the responsibility of a child's parents, teachers and other elders to teach our children values and that abstinence can be an option for them as much as the choice to have sex is--that they don't have to succumb to peer pressure, that they gave a right to say no to sex. But then the more teens get pregnant and/or catch STD's, the more funding for leftwing special-interest groups and their "victimhood" programs and Barry and his minions on the Left wouldn't want to put a stop to that.