House increases abstinence programs funding by 49%
Although the House of Representatives approved only minimal increases in HIV prevention funds for fiscal 2005 due to budgetary constraints, the lawmakers have approved a Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill that boosts spending on abstinence-only sex education programs by 49%, the Washington Times reports. The House approved $105 million for abstinence programs through the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant for Special Projects of Regional and National Significance, up from $70.5 million in fiscal 2004. The Senate isn't expected to address abstinence funding until after the November 2 election. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), decried the vote to boost abstinence spending when HIV programs are receiving only minimal increases or are being flat-funded. Congress has "got to begin to repeal some of this abstinence madness," she said last week at a briefing sponsored by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States and the American School Health Association.