for abstinence education will likely fall considerably
this year as Democratic leaders said Wednesday they will let
a $50 million grant program expire on June 30.
known as Title V, has not proven to be effective, said Rep.
John Dingell, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce
Committee. Dingell's committee has jurisdiction over
Title V funding. With a budget deficit and a war, he
said the decision to eliminate funding was not a
seems to be a colossal failure,'' said Dingell, a
To back that
view, he cited a recent report to Congress that showed
students in four abstinence-until-marriage programs were
just as likely to have sex as those who were not in
the abstinence programs. Students in the four programs
had sex at about the same age as students not in the
programs --14.9 years, according to Mathematica
Policy Research Inc.
Common topics in
abstinence-until-marriage programs include human anatomy
and sexually transmitted diseases. Also, classes often focus
on helping students set personal goals and build
self-esteem. Youth are also taught to improve
communication skills and manage peer pressure.
government funds abstinence education through three separate
programs. Title V is the second largest of those programs.
Congress approved it as part of welfare reform.
Participating states match the grants with $3 for
every $4 they get from the federal government.
executive director of the National Abstinence Education
Association, said the decision to stop funding Title V would
only embolden supporters of abstinence education to
work harder to maintain the program.
''It's a public
health message that offers risk-elimination for youth,''
Huber said. ''It's also consistent with what parents across
America want for their youth.''
Rep. Diana DeGette, a Colorado Democrat, for her counsel
on the need to do away with the grant program. Both
lawmakers said they would prefer that the money be
used for comprehensive sex-education programs that
would include abstinence as part of the curriculum.
''With all we
know about how to prevent teen pregnancy and reduce
sexually transmitted diseases, it is high time to redirect
the millions of federal dollars that we squander every
year on abstinence-only education to programs that
actually work,'' DeGette said. (AP)