President’s Budget Eliminates Sexual Risk Avoidance Programs
Today, President Obama sent his proposed FY 2014 budget to Congress. In an unfortunate, but predictable move, the budget calls for the elimination of discretionary funding for Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) abstinence education. In addition, it also directs the US Department of Health and Human Services to repurpose a portion of the Congressionally-established Title V state block grant for abstinence education to yet another new program that focuses on contraception rather than on avoiding all risk.[i]
Using Title V funds for programs that are not compliant with the Congressional definition for abstinence education is a violation of congressional intent and therefore, outside the authority of this budgetary directive.
The FY 2014 budget will only increase the current 1:16 disparity between SRA abstinence education and so-called ‘comprehensive’’ sex education. Nearly 7 in 10 Democratic parents would like to see more equality in funding for abstinence education and almost 60% specifically oppose the president’s efforts to eliminate SRA funding.[ii]
In addition, since nearly 75% of teens targeted for sex education classes (age 15-17) are not sexually active,[iii]
one would expect federal sex education policy to reinforce these good decisions and encourage more teens to make the same healthy choices. Sadly, the President’s recent budget ignores these compelling facts in favor of making a wrong-headed policy statement that serves the narrow agenda of special interest groups.
Valerie Huber, President/CEO of NAEA states: “The President’s move to eliminate Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) abstinence programs is completely out of touch with what his base wants, what parents want, and what is in the best interest of America’s youth.”
Research shows that students benefit from SRA programs, regardless of their sexual experience, or lack thereof. Students in successful SRA programs are more likely to delay sex than their peers, and if they are sexually active, have fewer partners and are no less likely to use a condom.
Huber continues: “It’s troubling that the President would want to prevent students from receiving the encouragement and skills to avoid sexual risk.”
NAEA calls on Congress to ignore the President’s sex education policy recommendations and instead choose the common sense position of supporting SRA programs and the positive results they are achieving among youth.
[i] Fiscal Year 2014 Appendix: budget of the US government. Pages 461, 480-1. Available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2014/assets/appendix.pdf
[ii] Parents Speak Out survey. Available at www.whatTheyToldUs.org
[iii] National Center for Health Statistics. ( 2011). Teenagers in the United States: Sexual
activity, contraceptive use, and childbearing, 2006–2010 . National Survey of Family Growth. National Health Statistics Reports 23(31) : 14, 15.