Healthcare Bill Pushes Abstinence Education

For those following the abstinence education saga, the Senate Health Care Bill contains Abstinence Education Reauthorization.

Washington, DC (November 18, 2009)-  Abstinence education funding is partially restored within the Senate Health Care Bill, a result of the Reid reconciliation of versions offered by the Senate HELP and Finance committees. The Reid bill also includes state block grant funding for so-called “comprehensive” sex education, which primarily focuses on risk reduction, while abstinence education focuses on risk avoidance. Earlier this fall, an abstinence amendment passed with bipartisan support in the Finance committee. Offered by Sen. Hatch (R-UT), the amendment would continue the Title V state funding for abstinence education through 2014. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV)  added the provision on page 618 of the 2,074 page health care proposal.  “Inserting language to restore funding for abstinence education could not have come at a more critical time. The recent CDC statistics detailing epidemic levels of STDs calls for a strong primary prevention message – a strategy only found within abstinence education” noted Valerie Huber, Executive Director of NAEA. “We are pleased that Senator Reid inserted this provision within his health care bill because the sexual health of America’s teens depend upon the kinds of skills that are a part of a typical abstinence education program.” Huber said,

“It is encouraging to know that the program originally signed into law by President Bill Clinton is back on track for continued funding. However, while we applaud Senator Reid’s support for  abstinence education within his proposal, we acknowledge that this is only an intermediate victory. Much work remains before Congress finishes its work on health care. Today’s news is a welcome sign at this critical stage, but we will continue our efforts until youth are again assured continued abstinence education in their schools.”

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