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Obama cuts all funding for Christian-based ‘Abstinence Only’ sex-ed programs

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President Obama’s 2017 budget proposal has removed a $10 million annual grant proposal that goes towards funding “abstinence-only” sexual education classes in public schools.

Image via The White House (Flickr)

President Obama’s 2017 budget proposal has removed a $10 million annual grant that goes towards funding “abstinence-only” sexual education classes in public schools. By eliminating the grant, Obama would end the financial incentive for states to continue teaching the debunked sex-ed program.

“Abstinence Only” is a sex education course that refuses to teach about condoms or other forms of birth control in favor of encouraging teens to abstain. The outdated and ineffective curriculum is favored by many Christian sects, and is supported by many Republican lawmakers.

The program often skips information about anatomy, puberty, sexual health and orientation. In addition, it’s been theorized that the courses can create a hostile environment for same-sex couples, couples that have premarital sex, or other people who don’t fit in with the image of sexuality described in the class.

Jessica Boyer, CEO of The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS), said in a statement that she is “grateful for President Obama’s leadership in seeking to end abstinence-only-until-marriage funding once and for all.

After three decades and nearly $2 billion in federal spending wasted on this failed approach, the President’s proposed budget increases support for programs and efforts that seek to equip young people with the skills they need to ensure their lifelong sexual health and well-being.

Congress has until October 1, the end of the fiscal year, to debate the budget. With Obama entering the final year of his presidency, the Republican Congress is sure to fight him on nearly every platform.

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35 Comments

35 Comments

  1. Simon Peters

    February 17, 2016 at 1:43 am

    Good decision – the funding was a ludicrous waste of public money

  2. Mike Davis

    February 17, 2016 at 5:38 am

    The real problem, aside from the clear evidence that Nancy Reagan’s “just say no” doesn’t work with either drugs OR sex, is that these sex-ed programs have been hijacked by the Christian Right using embedded teachers to forward their ineffective agenda.

    Cut social programs that don’t work. Isn’t that a conservative agenda?

    • Dave

      February 18, 2016 at 2:03 pm

      Why would you say “it doesn’t work”? Are 100% of high school students getting pregnant?

      This is just another small and petty response by the man-child President because States are eliminating Planned Parenthood baby killing factories.

      You libs time is coming to an end. I hope you have your rock picked out for the next decade.

      • AQ

        February 18, 2016 at 4:42 pm

        So Dave, basically you’re a Christian State terrorist who hates women and see them as nothing more than chattels.

        Good to know.

      • Rick Nolte

        February 18, 2016 at 4:47 pm

        I’ve been on the same rock for almost 60 years. More than enough room for everyone. Now if you folks would just learn to live and let live. But no! You insist you should be able to tell everyone else how to run their lives. Isn’t happening now or anytime in the future. People in hell wish for ice water too.

      • Stuart Smith

        February 18, 2016 at 10:01 pm

        No, but a greater percentage of high school students who take abstinence only sex ed get pregnant than of those who take comprehensive sex education. They also get more STDs, and have about the same amount of sex.

      • Katie

        March 7, 2016 at 5:42 pm

        Not a very good argument Dave. Not every teen is having sex. Also, the US has the highest teen pregnancy rate compared to other industrial countries. Abstinence only programs DO NOT WORK.

      • Morgan Ravenwood

        May 18, 2016 at 1:30 pm

        This country has had enough of the hate rhetoric from the Religious Nutballs. It is YOUR time that is coming to an end. And PP does a lot more than abortions, but you folks are pretty bad at actually reading and LEARNING anything..

  3. Joe Villanova

    February 17, 2016 at 8:10 am

    having grown up in a deranged and bigoted religious family one thing that I came to realize is that I have never been very good at doing what I was told.

    That being said, I have always wondered something very peculiar to me with a good swath of the population just in this country alone:

    why is it that some people have such a problem with the idea of a government that is interested in the good of everyone but doesn’t seem to have a problem with condescending and sanctimonious religious institutions who not only want to dictate everything in a person’s life but want society to live in that form of perverted ideology?

    I don’t get it.

    • Robin Williams

      February 18, 2016 at 11:58 am

      It’s because, contrary to their teachings in many cases, they don’t want to answer to any authority BUT their religion.

  4. debem

    February 17, 2016 at 8:25 am

    It’s abstinence what type of funding does “do nothing” need?

    • Halfcentaur (@halfacentaur)

      February 17, 2016 at 2:24 pm

      ask republicans. it’s kind of their entire motto for politics.

    • AQ

      February 17, 2016 at 3:51 pm

      abstinence-only curricula are NOT just “do nothing”–they are designed specifically to shame and belittle young women by telling them specifically that if they have sex before marriage, they are “used” and “damaged goods”. Comparisons are made to used chewing gum (and other nasty discarded items), and comments made along the lines of “Nobody wants to chew somebody else’s used chewing gum–girls, that’s what you become when you have sex before marriage. You’ve been used and thrown away, and you’re garbage.”

      Sexual assault is never mentioned, unless to tell young women that if they get raped, it’s their fault. Male rape victims are never mentioned, because that would imply some kind of acceptance of Teh Icky Gayz.

      So…yeah. It’s nothing more than misogynist Talibangelical propaganda designed to reinforce the idea that women are somehow chattels.

  5. Nugs

    February 17, 2016 at 8:33 am

    GOOD! I imagine this nonsense would have been nipped in the bud sooner had folks helped Obama by voting in the midterms. Better late, than never.

  6. C Nault

    February 17, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    The entire religion of Christianity is based on abstinence not being 100% effective.

  7. Gene beckner

    February 18, 2016 at 9:15 am

    I agree with this and I’m a conservative Christian. It is up to the parents to instill their values at home. However, when these kids get pregnant because they were taught how to have “safe sex” then those same parents should be responsible for the costs associated with raising a child not the taxpayers.

    • Carrie

      February 19, 2016 at 6:32 pm

      More like When these kids become pregnant because they know about sex but not safe sex

  8. Mike Parent

    February 19, 2016 at 8:33 am

    Ms Palin was the spokesperson for abstinence only. How’d that work outvforv the mom
    Of two? Smh

  9. Brian

    February 19, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    About time. Abstinence only education is less effective, less healthy more prone to STDs than comprehensive education.
    States that promote abstinence only are statistically more prone to teen pregnancies than those with better sex ed.

    Here is a great pro-tip Conservatives: if you want to reduce abortions, find real ways to reduce pregnancies. Abstinence only education doesn’t do that.

  10. Ed Ronningen

    February 20, 2016 at 7:46 am

    Hmmm… just wondering what part of “Keep your zipper zipped” causes increased STDS and increased teen pregnancies? If you don’t have intercourse, you don’t get pregnant, it create a baby. Should it be up.to the government to tell kids that? Nope. Just like the government should not be fundinf Planned Parenthood, the largest provider od abortions in the US.
    Parents should be teaching their children about sex, not the schools. Religious education does not belong in dchool. I am a conservative Christian, but this is not the school’s job. We so readily default to the school and government for educating our children, abdication our roles and responsibilities as parents.
    I think both PP and abstinence education dhould be defunded.

    • Morgan Ravenwood

      May 18, 2016 at 1:34 pm

      The government does NOT fund PP abortions. Have you been under a rock that you don’t know that? And parents too often drop the ball when it comes to discussing sex honestly and factually with their kids, so the schools have no choice but to fill that role. If you defund PP you deprive women AND men of badly needed health services such as STD and cancer screening.

  11. Mike Davis

    February 20, 2016 at 10:35 am

    I respectively disagree. If you look at stats, you’ll find that unwanted pregnancies jumped in Texas when PP was defunded. Other states with similar policies are at the top of the list for unwanted pregnancies. There was a 25% drop in women’s health care overall and a 50% drop in two of the regions in Texas. PP only provides 3% of their services for abortion, and the drop in health care was in spite of inclusion of private clinics intended to take up the slack. (ABC News report and the Guttmacher Institute studies). PP does not advocate for abortions, it simply provides them at the desperate request of the patient.

    It is clear that “just say no” doesn’t work. Adolescent hormones are raging, curiosity is peaked, adults “do it” and it feels good, so “why can’t I?”. In addition, misinformation and misunderstanding of ovulation cycles and the mechanism of impregnation and the availability and use of contraception leads to total ignorance around the facts of life.

    Yes, parents should be talking to kids about sex, but many don’t, or don’t want to, or don’t know how. It just doesn’t work in far too many instances.

    • Simon Peters

      February 21, 2016 at 12:16 am

      Mike presumably you mean ‘respectfully’; damn Spellcheck!

      • Mike Davis

        February 21, 2016 at 4:15 am

        Yes, sorry. I’m not totally illiterate, just in knee-jerk response to un-vetted posts.

        Much of what I see posted comes from the information gleaned from the clergy and preachers from the pulpit. “Just say no” is an easy, brainless solution as seen by those well past their reproductive years. We see how little many of these religious leaders know about human reproduction from the dissemination of information such as “the female body shuts down during rape so impregnation is impossible, therefore if a woman becomes pregnant, it wasn’t rape” and similar ignorance from even our presidential candidates (Rubio). My son-in-law is a gyn-onc which is a pretty good reference for medical fact, backed by the entire American Medical Association and the American Board of Gynecologists. But there are always political science majors and preachers who know “more” who hold the microphone.

    • relgin023

      March 8, 2016 at 11:01 am

      I would have to agree with your thoughts. Saying “no” and even prayer do not make people less horny. This is human nature and to ignore and stifle it is foolish and not realistic.

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  15. weetam

    May 18, 2016 at 8:33 am

    it seems the religious right do not want a level playing field for everyone, only a set of rules run by their own beliefs.

    for years now i have sat and watch while the best president you have ever had has been belittled for bringing an even playing field to every US citizen, and for years i have been wondering why exactly it is that out of all the first world states, only america has a problem with separation of church and state. sure, thats what it says in your constitution, but when governors of your states start disobeying the law of that land, stating gods law trumps it, then you have massive problems.

    This just simply isnt a problem in any other first world country, the law is the law, and no correspondence is entered into it. especially not from magical sky daddies book of april fools’ jokes.

    its not the most christian thing to do not to want a level playing field for everyone, but then right wing christians are really no different from IS in their aims, its just their means are (sometimes) different.

    unless you are in a planned parenthood clinic. or a school.

    the rest of the world thinks american christians are batshit crazy, and for very good reason.

  16. Owen Iverson

    May 19, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    religious conservatives are mind-boggling.

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  18. Kris Long

    May 20, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    Is this what government has come down to? Who can be the bigger asshole when it comes to wedge issues?

    I am completely behind the cutoff of religious-based abstinence teaching in sex ed, That said, it would be wise to teach children that having sex at an early age does not make them special, can lead to many adverse consequences (unwanted pregnancies and STDs are two of the main ones, outside of the drama and complication to a teen’s daily life they can play into), and should absolutely be thoughtfully researched and considered before the pants come off. Now, that education should come only as a part of education about how everything works and about safe sex procedures.

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