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Democrats Cave on Sex Education - Again

Statement by James Wagoner on the $28 million increase in abstinence-only program funding

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement by James Wagoner on the $28 million increase in abstinence-only program funding:

Today, we learned that the Democratic-controlled Labor HHS Appropriations conference committee report includes the full $28 million increase requested by President Bush for failed abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. Democrats approved a whopping $141 million dollar budget for abstinence-only programs - a level of funding never achieved even under a conservative Republican congress.

Never mind the congressionally-mandated evaluation released in April showing abstinence-only programs have "no impact on adolescent behavior". Never mind the 2004 report from Congressman Henry Waxman's oversight committee demonstrating that 80% of abstinence-only programs contain "false or misleading information". Never mind the 13 governors who have refused abstinence-only dollars because they see no reason to use precious state dollars to match federal funds for programs that simply do not work.

With one breathtakingly cynical move, the Democratic leadership has now stamped their brand on one of the biggest ideological boondoggles in congressional history. More disturbingly, they have placed the health and safety of young people at risk by promoting programs that spread ignorance in the era of AIDS. Placing politics before public health has now become a bipartisan folly.

Why did the leadership cave?

We have come to know the excuses by heart. The House Appropriations Chairman, David Obey (D-WI) had included the funding in his bill to obtain Republican support sufficient to overturn a presidential veto. Yet the Republicans have made it clear they will not provide those votes in the House even if the massive increase for abstinence-only is included. So, why persist? The fall back excuse seems to be that funding these failed programs is an unavoidable consequence of Chairman Obey 'being Obey.' After all, he has long been known for his barely concealed hostility to reproductive health issues and sex education.

Neither of these excuses pass muster when every day in this country 10,000 young people get an STD, 2,000 become pregnant and 55 contract HIV. The time has come to call this failure of leadership what it is: a stunning disgrace.

Advocates for Youth is a national, nonprofit organization that creates programs and supports policies that help young people make safe, responsible decisions about their sexual and reproductive health.

SOURCE Advocates for Youth
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