Sexuality Education

House Appropriations Committee doubles-down on abstinence-only

For Immediate Release
July 14, 2016

Contact: Kristina Romines
Phone: (202) 265-2405 ext 333

Funding bill guts science-based health promotion programs while increasing abstinence-only

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House Appropriations Committee passed a funding bill that plays politics with the sexual health of young people, eliminating science-based programs while doubling funding for harmful abstinence-only programs.

The fiscal year 2017 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies funding bill, passed out of committee by a 31–19 vote, doubles funding for the harmful competitive abstinence-only-until-marriage grant program—unconvincingly disguised as “sexual risk avoidance”—while completely eliminating the Office of Adolescent Health’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program and under-funding the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Adolescent and School Health.

“The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States is extremely discouraged by Congress’ politicization of adolescent health. The House is a blow to the progress that has been made since 2010 to support and improve adolescent sexual health and support healthy youth development,” said Chitra Panjabi, SIECUS President & CEO.

Nearly $2 billion in federal funds has been wasted on harmful abstinence-only approaches over the last three decades. In the past five years alone, federal funding for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs has increased by 70 percent.

Despite efforts by Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) and her fellow Democrats who supported an amendment to restore and increase adolescent sexual health promotion funding and eliminate abstinence-only funding in the bill, the amendment failed by a 29 to 20 vote.

“SIECUS thanks Congresswomen Nita Lowey, Rosa DeLauro, Barbara Lee, and Lucille Roybal-Allard, as well as the rest of the Democrats on the Committee, for recognizing that federal funding should reflect the education that young people need, rather than misinformation based on fear, gender stereotypes and shaming tactics. It is essential for our nation’s youth that TPPP funding be restored and that we put an end to harmful and wasteful abstinence-only-until-marriage funding once and for all,” said Panjabi.


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 sexual health services. SIECUS works to create a world that ensures social justice and sexual rights.