Coalition Urges Congress to Fund Comprehensive Sex Ed, Eliminate Abstinence-Only Programs

October 30, 2014

Twenty-nine organizations, including the Center for Inquiry (CFI), today wrote members of the Appropriations Committees in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives urging them to strengthen funding for adolescent sexual health promotion programs and eliminate harmful abstinence-only-until-marriage programs in the final fiscal year 2015 funding.

You can download our letter here.

In particular, the letter requests three specific funding actions:

  • Support $105 million for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative (TPPI) in FY 2015. TPPI grants are awarded to public and private entities by the Office of Adolescent Health for medically accurate and age appropriate teen pregnancy prevention programs that are modeled after evidence-based programs, as well as implementation of innovate strategies to test new approaches, accompanied by rigorous evaluation.
  • Support $34 million for the Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) in FY 2015. DASH, also known as "HIV School Health," supports cooperative agreements with 19 state and territorial education agencies and 17 local education agencies, assisted by seven DASH-funded national organizations, to build schools’ capacities to provide students with exemplary sexual health education, access to sexual health services, and support for safe and supportive environments for students and school staff. Support for DASH funding would continue these infrastructure investments and advance evaluation of school-based HIV prevention efforts.
  • Eliminate funding for the Competitive Abstinence Education (CAE) Grant Program in FY 2015. CAE grants, awarded by the Administration for Children and Families, Family Youth Services Bureau, support abstinence-only-until-marriage programs that withhold necessary and lifesaving information that would allow young people to make informed and responsible decisions about their health. These programs ostracize and often denigrate LGBTQ youth, stigmatize youth who have been sexually abused, and deny information to sexually active young people. Eliminating the harmful CAE grant program would free-up much needed resources more effective adolescent sexual health promotion investments.

The letter was directed to Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland), Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations; Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Alabama), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee; Rep. Harold Rogers (R-Kentucky), Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations; and Rep. Nita Lowey (D-New York), Ranking Member of the House Committee.

Groups signing onto the letter include AIDS United, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Catholics for Choice, Human Rights Campaign, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Council of Jewish Women, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S.

You can download our letter here.

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