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SIECUS Statement on Temporary Title V Extension

Statement by William Smith, vice president of public policy for the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States

Washington, DCYesterday, Congress passed a three month extension of the Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage program.  This regrettable extension comes just months after the federal government’s own evaluation found this program to be an extraordinary waste of scarce resources.  In short, it has done nothing to help young people make good and healthy decisions. 

At this moment, President Bush is poised to veto an important and incredibly popular bi-partisan bill that supports health insurance for low-income children on the premise that it wastes these same “scarce resources.”  Yet, after more than $1.5 billion in taxpayer money having been squandered on abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, they remain a hallmark of President Bush’s extreme right wing agenda and he will sign the extension with great joy.

We recognize that there were significant political issues that hampered attempts to fix this program before it expired on September 30.  In August, the House of Representatives, under the leadership of Congressman John Dingell, passed substantive improvements to the current law that would require programs to be medically accurate and provide states with the flexibility they need to craft appropriate interventions for their young people. We remain committed to a dialogue that secures these improvements.  We are thankful and take seriously the statement of Congressman Dingell that he will continue to fight for the improvements accomplished under his committee’s jurisdiction going forward.  He has tremendous support in the House of Representatives which has already passed these fixes. We also hope that the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, grasps the necessity of this effort, as well as the unique importance it has for her own district, and gets this done.  The Senate leadership has also been supportive of these same improvements and we call upon them to pass the House fixes to this program if it is extended into 2008.

For more information contact Patrick Malone at or (212)819-9770 ext. 316.