Thirty Republican members of Congress have written a letter to Health and Human Services secretary Tommy Thompson urging him to reject a $200,000 grant application from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, to create a doctoral program in human sexuality research, Madison's Wisconsin State Journal reports. The program would allow students to specialize in a particular area of sexuality, such as HIV and sexually transmitted disease prevention. The right-wing lawmakers object to the program because it would not include segments on abstinence. They called the grant request "biased" because they believe any educational courses on sexuality, even at the doctorate level, must include a focus on abstinence as a means to prevent HIV, STDs, and unwanted pregnancies.
The lawmakers urge HHS to instead increase funding for research to "better understand the value of abstinence-only education in terms of prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, [unintended] pregnancies, and other negative health consequences that result from becoming sexually active at a young age." Among the lawmakers to sign the letter are representatives Dave Weldon (R-Fla.), Jim Ryun (R-Kan.), Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), Melissa Hart (R-Pa.), Chris Smith (R-N.J.), and Joe Pitts (R-Pa.).