Anna Gragert
February 18, 2016 8:08 pm
Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla

Over the past 25 years, Congress has spent over $1.5 billion on abstinence-only sex ed – even though no professional study has found this program to be effective. That’s why Obama’s decision to cut all funding for abstinence-only education from his proposed 2017 budget is hugely important.

Despite all the funding that’s been given to abstinence-only sex ed, research has shown that it has failed to positively impact teen’s sexual behavior or lower HIV rates. In 2007, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy produced a report stating,

Another 2007 study published in the British Medical Journal analyzed data resulting from 13 abstinence-only trials that included around 16,000 students. They found that these trials ineffectively changed behaviors related to “the rate of vaginal sex, number of sexual partners, and condom use.” Pregnancy and STD rates were also unresponsive.

With these studies in mind, it makes sense that Obama would want to end the $10 million per year grant program that supports abstinence-only courses. Instead, the president chose to keep funding the CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health; to extend the Personal Responsibility Education Program (works to end to youth homelessness, adolescent pregnancy, and domestic violence) for another 5 years; and to increase funding for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program.

The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States’s CEO Jessica Boyer had this to say about these changes:

All the same, it is important to note that this is all part of President Obama’s proposed budget, meaning that Congress will be debating these changes until the fiscal year begins on October 1st.

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