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Appropriations for Coming Year Prioritize Sexual Health and Education


December 9, 2009

 Washington, D.C.  – Last night, Congress released the final appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2010. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010 takes several steps toward properly promoting and funding programs that will improve the sexual and reproductive health for young people across the country. 

 Congress allocated $114.5 million toward teen pregnancy prevention initiatives that are medically accurate, age-appropriate, and discuss abstinence as well as contraception. This new initiative would fund teen pregnancy prevention programs that have been rigorously evaluated and proven effective as well as innovative approaches. Programs that address the behavioral risk factors that underlie teen pregnancy will also be available for funding. These new funds will fall under the purview of the newly established Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) within the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Furthermore, the appropriations bill eliminates all existing funding for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.  

 “A new prevention initiative, the establishment of the Office of Adolescent Health, and the end of harmful abstinence-only-until-marriage funding are huge steps in the right direction and we commend Congress, particularly the leadership shown by Senator Tom Harkin and Representative David Obey, for these actions,” said Joseph DiNorcia, Jr., president and CEO of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS). “SIECUS has been working with members of Congress for a long time to secure progress such as this. However, we do think that by focusing the funding on teen pregnancy prevention, and not including the equally important health issues of STDs and HIV, Congress has missed an opportunity to provide true, comprehensive sex education that promotes healthy behaviors and relationships for all young people.”

 The Consolidated Appropriations Act also included mixed news on the international front. Funding for international HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention is set at $5.709 billion, which is $200 million above 2009 and $100 million above the President’s request. While this is a smaller increase than many advocates had hoped for, it is accompanied by some policy changes that could make spending more effective. The U.S. will also make a $55 million contribution to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for the first time in many years. Unfortunately, language to repeal permanently the “Global Gag Rule” was not included in the bill.

 “The administration and Congress now seem to get the idea that policy and funding must move hand- in-hand in order to effect change,” continued DiNorcia. “While there is still room for improvement in both funding levels and policies focusing on broader sexual health issues, we are grateful to President Obama and Congress for clearly making sexual and reproductive health and the fight against HIV/AIDS here and abroad a priority.”  

 With questions or comments please contact Patrick Malone at or (202)265-2405.