May 1, 2017
After Congress bought themselves another week of federal funding by passing a one-week continuing resolution (CR) this past Friday, a compromise funding bill for the remainder of fiscal year (FY) 2017 was released this morning. The bill does not cut nor prohibit federal funding for Planned Parenthood nor does it include money for a U.S.-Mexico border wall, though it does increase military spending.
Notably for those of us anxious to know the future funding for federal programs that support adolescent sexual health promotion and education, the bill includes $101 million for the Office of Adolescent Health’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP) as well as $6.8 million in evaluation transfer authority, both level to FY 2016 funding.
Similarly, HIV prevention efforts in schools would be level funded at $33.1 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Adolescent and School Health.
After years of attacks on TPPP and more recent efforts to distort research and polling to undermine the program, level-funding for the program is a victory worth celebrating and expressing our gratitude to adolescent sexual health promotion champions in Congress.
Unfortunately, this victory does not come without a trade-off. The compromise funding bill includes $15 million for the annually-funded competitive abstinence-only-until-marriage grant program—now called “sexual risk avoidance”—a 50% increase compared to FY 2016
This increase, plus the already authorized funding level for the Title V “Abstinence Education” state grant program, would bring the FY 2017 total amount to $90 million—the highest level for abstinence-only programs since FY 2009—continuing the damaging trend of wasting funds on this harmful and ineffective approach that does not support adolescent sexual health promotion.
Congress is expected to start voting procedures on the funding bill as early as Tuesday, May 2, 2017.