Yesterday, Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced the Repealing Ineffective and Incomplete Abstinence-Only Program Funding Act (the Act), which would end abstinence-only-until-marriage programs once and for all. HRC has long opposed federal funding for abstinence-only programs because they exclude, or even denigrate, LGBT students. These programs are prohibited by law from discussing contraceptive use and exclude, by design, LGBT youth because marriage is unavailable to LGBT individuals in most parts of the country.
Since 1996, Congress has spent almost .5 billion on abstinence-only programs, despite a wealth of evidence that they are ineffective. In fact, no study in a professional peer-reviewed journal has found abstinence-only programs to be broadly effective. While our Congress searches to ensure that every tax dollar is spent in an effective manner, the Act furthers this pursuit by defunding a program that has not been proven effective.
The Act would strip Title V from the Social Security Act, and rescind million that has been appropriated to abstinence-only programs. In addition, it would provide for 5 million in funds for the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), which provides for comprehensive, evidence-based efforts to prevent teen pregnancy and reduce sexually-transmitted infections. Currently, PREP is funded at million, so the Act would increase this funding by million.
Our nation’s youth deserve the facts about how to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. It is time for Congress to ensure that our students are no longer subjugated to ineffective abstinence-only programs. HRC thanks Senator Lautenberg and Representative Lee for their continued support of comprehensive and medically accurate sex education.