Friday, May 8, 2009

VICTORY for Comprehensive Sex Education!

Ends Ineffective Abstinence-Only Programs,
Provides New Funding for Evidence-Based Comprehensive Sex Education

“President Obama’s budget makes clear that the government will no longer waste federal dollars on ineffective abstinence-only programs that fail to reduce the number of teen pregnancies and do nothing to keep teens healthy and safe,” said PPMNS President and CEO Sarah Stoesz.

“We applaud the administration for rejecting failed abstinence-only programs that have cost taxpayers more than 1 billion dollars. The administration’s investment in evidence-based sex ed programs proven to help prevent teen pregnancy is a common sense, effective solution that puts the health of young people first,” Stoesz said.

President Obama’s budget completely eliminates funding for the Community Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) program and the Title V Abstinence Education program for states, saving the federal government $149 million.

In addition, President Obama’s budget includes $178 million in new funding for evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs. Of that, $75 million is designated for “programs that replicate the elements of one or more teenage pregnancy prevention programs that have been proven through rigorous evaluation to delay sexual activity, increase contraceptive use (without increasing sexual activity), or reduce teenage pregnancy”; and $25 million is slated for research and development of new and innovative strategies for preventing teen pregnancy.

President Obama’s budget also provides a $10 million increase in the Title X program, the nation’s family planning program, for a total of $317 million. The Title X family planning program provides basic health care to more than five million women and families across the U.S. However, funding has not kept pace with inflation, and more than 17 million women are in need of publicly funded family planning services. President Obama’s budget also includes a provision to expand family planning under Medicaid, which would extend family planning coverage to millions more women.

Expanding family planning under Medicaid has been one of Planned Parenthood’s top priorities. Also known as the Medicaid Family Planning State Option, it would simply allow states to expand their Medicaid family planning services, including cancer screenings and other preventive care, to more women in need, without having to go through the burdensome Medicaid waiver process.

The Medicaid Family Planning State Option would have a significant impact on women’s health and is vital to expanding care to the millions of women who are losing their jobs and/or their health insurance in this economic downturn. According to the Congressional Budget Office, this provision would provide coverage to 2.3 million low-income women by 2014. A study by the Guttmacher Institute finds that this flexible option would help 500,000 women avoid unintended pregnancy.

“We commend the investment in women’s health and the commitment to make family planning and basic health care services, including lifesaving cancer screenings, more accessible and affordable to millions of low-income women and their families,” said Stoesz.

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