President Bush's reelection has already resulted in additional federal funding for abstinence-only sex education programs throughout the country that ban discussions of contraceptives except to mention their failure rates. Congress earlier this month approved $131 million for abstinence programs in 2005, up about $30 million over 2004 levels. Bush had requested an additional $100 million for 2005. White House spokesman Scott McClellan says Bush believes federal abstinence spending should be equal to spending on other sex education programs. "The president is an advocate of abstinence-education programs because he wants to focus on what works," McClellan said.
But comprehensive sex education advocates, including William Smith, director of public policy at the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, say scientific data show that abstinence programs don't have any long-term impact on the sexual behavior of young people and fail to help prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Health and Human Services spokesman Bill Piece says a national evaluation of the effectiveness of abstinence programs that was supposed to be released earlier this year has been delayed, and a final report isn't expected until 2006. HHS officials, however, say they don't need scientific data to show that abstinence programs work. "We don't need a study, if I remember my biology correctly, to show us that those people who are sexually abstinent have a zero chance of becoming pregnant or contracting a sexually transmitted disease," says Wade Horn, assistant secretary for children and families at HHS.