Abstinence-Only Extension

02 October 2007

Congress spends a lot of money on abstinence-only education. About $87.5 million each year. Recently, Congress commissioned a study to find out if it was worth it to spend so much money on such programs. It turns out, abstinence-only education doesn't really do anything:

"The impact results from the four selected programs show no impacts on rates of sexual abstinence."

The American Medical Association, Office of National AIDS Policy, Institute of Medicine, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute of Health, and American Academy of Pediatrics all agree: comprehensive sexual education would be much better. As it stands, we're basically flushing millions of dollars down the toilet, doing nothing other than subsidizing certain groups to proselytize and spread misinformation about condom failure rates.

Nonetheless, in a display of poor fiscal and public health policy, Congress has once again renewed this ineffective program in a $50 million Title V renewal.

The Bill's co-sponsors? Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) and Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY). Thanks a lot, guys.

I suppose their position is somewhat defensible, insofar as the funding was tied to several other effective public health programs under Title V. But still, the Democratic leadership has to take a good measure of blame for allowing such a ridiculous program through in the first place. I'm still bitter that they increased its funding this past June. Now they complain that they're only grudgingly extending its coverage, despite the fact that they're the ones responsible for it being there in the first place? Come on, guys.

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