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Congresswoman Introduces Legislation to Halt Federal Funding for Abstinence-Only Education

Congresswoman Barbara Lee

Congresswoman Barbara Lee introduced The Repealing Ineffective and Incomplete Abstinence-Only Program Funding Act of 2013, HR 3774, which would end to federal funding of abstinence-only-until marriage programs.

This legislation has been endorsed by over a dozen advocacy groups, including Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS), The AIDS Institute, American Civil Liberties Union, the Guttmacher Institute, Human Rights Campaign, and Planned Parenthood, would instead support comprehensive sexuality education through the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), authorized in the health care reform law.

“We need to get serious about educating our young people about sex.  Abstinence-only programs fail to address the challenge of unplanned pregnancies and sexually-transmitted infections among our youth, which have reached a critical level,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee.  “We must ensure that we provide comprehensive sex education programs that have been proven to work, instead of throwing money away on programs that don’t.”

Since 1996, the United States has spent over $1.75 billion in federal funding for abstinence-only-until marriage programs that fail to teach teens how to prevent unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

Abstinence-only-until-marriage programs have been discredited by a wide body of evidence, including a Congressionally-mandated study in 2007. Based on scientific evidence, nearly half of all states have rejected federal funding for abstinence-only-until marriage programs. The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences recommends the termination of such programs because they represent “poor fiscal and public health policy.”

Co-Sponsors in the House include Reps. Moran, Moore, Capps, Schakowsky, Farr, Slaughter, Blumenauer, and Clarke.

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