April 2016 Church & State - April 2016

Obama Seeks To End Federal Funding For ‘Abstinence-Only’ Programs

  AU admin

For the third time President Bar­ack Obama has put forth a proposed budget that slashes government funding for abstinence-only education programs.

Obama’s 2016-2017 budget, which was released in February, deleted $10 million for the programs. The abstinence-only approach is favored by the Religious Right, although polls show that most Americans favor comprehensive sex education. Given the far right’s support for such programs, Obama’s earlier attempts to cut their funding have failed, and the money was restored by congressional conservatives.

As Mother Jones noted, Obama’s first budget in 2009 as well as his second budget in 2010 called for similar cuts, but ultimately those deletions were not approved by Congress. The magazine reported that Obama’s latest – and final – attempt at abstinence-only cuts is likely to meet the same fate.

Obama has consistently opposed funding abstinence-only programs, which have been slammed by critics as ineffective and often anchored in religion. While on the campaign trail in 2008, Obama said sex-education classes should teach about contraception.

Despite his budget failures, Obama has had some successes in this area. In 2010 and 2011, Congress agreed to cut two-thirds of the federal funding for existing abstinence-only education programs, as well as to spend $190 million intended to prevent unplanned teen pregnancy and curb the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. 

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