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Congress Increases Funding for Failed, Harmful Abstinence-Only Programs in Fiscal Year 2018

For Immediate Release
March 23, 2018

 

Contact: Zach Eisenstein
Phone: (202) 265-2405 ext. 3330
Email:  zeisenstein@siecus.org

 

Congress Increases Funding for Failed, Harmful Abstinence-Only Programs in Fiscal Year 2018  

Early this morning, Congress voted to extend federal funding for fiscal year (FY) 2018 to fund the government now through September 30, 2018. The bill was signed into law by President Trump later this afternoon.

While the congressional appropriations process kept some vital sexual health promotion programs funded, SIECUS is severely disappointed to learn that funds for failed abstinence-only-until-marriage programs have increased yet again.

“We are grateful for our Congressional champions who have showed their firm commitment to ensuring young people’s health and wellbeing through prioritizing these programs. However, it is simply unacceptable that many other members of Congress have, again, elected to waste millions on this failed approach to sex ed that is not only ineffective, but also, actively harms young people,” said Chitra Panjabi, SIECUS President and CEO.

The final FY 2018 funding bill includes the following:

  • Continued funding for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program at $101 million and for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s HIV School Health efforts at $33.1 million.
  • A $10 million increase over FY 2017 funding for the competitive abstinence-only “sexual risk avoidance” grant program—totaling $25 million for FY2018. These funds are in addition to the $75 million that was previously authorized for the Title V abstinence-only “sexual risk avoidance education” program.

“Sadly, when it comes to funding for sexual and reproductive health in this country, many members of Congress have made themselves clear: They would rather pander to the ideology of a small group of people than listen to science, reason, and the voices of the very people they were elected to represent.

We will continue to be vigilant in urging Congress to make sound funding decisions that work to advance the sexual health and wellbeing of all young people in this country,” Panjabi said.

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The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS) has served as the national voice for sexuality education, sexual health, and sexual rights for over 50 years. SIECUS affirms that sexuality is a fundamental part of being human, one that is worthy of dignity and respect. We advocate for the right of all people to accurate information, comprehensive education about sexuality, and the full spectrum of sexual and reproductive health services. SIECUS works to create a world that ensures social justice inclusive of sexual and reproductive rights.

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