President Barack Obama has proposed eliminating federal funding for abstinence education in his 2017 budget plan.
The US Department of Health and Human Services currently spend $10 million a year on grants for abstinence education programs. Obama’s latest budget proposal would eliminate the grants completely, though it is unknown which provisions will survive the Republican-controlled Congress.
This is not the first time Obama has pushed for cutting abstinence program funding, which he has claimed is inadequate to prevent unintended pregnancy, out of the federal budget. The administration’s continued funding of abstinence programs at the direction of Congress has been a source of consternation among many of the president’s supporters, who argue that such programs fail to have a meaningful impact on minors’ sexual activity.
However, Live Action News has previously covered a wide range of research suggesting abstinence education is effective, including a Heritage Foundation review finding that “17 of the 22 studies” “reported statistically significant positive results”; a 2010 study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine finding that abstinence-only education was more effective than both “safe sex” education and “comprehensive” education; 2012 research from Montclair State University finding that “abstinence from sexual activity until marriage is the best way to avoid teen pregnancy, disease, and possible negative emotional consequences, and is the best way to help students focus on academic and other future-oriented goals”; and more.
In 2013, Planned Parenthood of West and North Michigan unsuccessfully attempted to apply for a $12,000 abstinence education grant, despite opposing abstinence education.
Planned Parenthood, as a whole, receives more than $500 million in taxpayer dollars and performs more than 300,000 abortions annually. In January 2016, President Obama vetoed Congress’s bill defunding Planned Parenthood. The bill would have re-routed Planned Parenthood’s funding to federally qualified health clinics, which provide comprehensive care to women and families without abortion and which outnumber Planned Parenthood facilities 20 to 1.