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House Boosts Abstinence-Only Funding
  Washington Times
Oct 4, 2004
Cheryl Wetzstein
The House of Representatives' appropriation bill includes a 49 percent funding increase for abstinence education grants, but it is unclear when, or whether, the additional funds will be available. Congressional aides say the Senate has not passed its appropriation bill for the Department of Health and Social Services and is not likely to do so until after the November election. The House appropriation would boost funding for the abstinence program, known as Special Projects of Regional and National Significance, from $70.5 million in fiscal 2004 to $105 million in fiscal 2005.
Leslee Unruh, president of the Abstinence Clearinghouse in Sioux Falls, S.D., called the increase "pretty exciting" and said it and other abstinence grants are "making an impact." A recent CDC report gives abstinence part of the credit for a 53 percent decline in teen births from 1991 to 2001, Unruh said. Still, she said her group's goal is funding parity: She estimated that abstinence education receives just $1 for every $12 spent on programs promoting condom use.
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said Congress must "begin to repeal some of this abstinence-only madness." She is lead sponsor of a bill that would allocate $100 million annually for comprehensive sex education. California's refusal to take federal funds that must be spent on abstinence education have cost it $46 million, Lee said.
According to the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, a federal study has shown that teens who sign virginity pledges tend to delay intercourse for 18 months — but not until marriage — and are far less likely to use condoms or birth control when they do initiative sexual activity.
A Heritage Foundation study says that teens who sign virginity pledges are less likely to become pregnant, give birth as teens, or be sexually active in high school or as young adults.
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