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Senate Advances FY 2017 Health Funding Bill

On June 6, 2016, the U.S. Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee passed its fiscal year (FY) 2017 funding bill out of subcommittee by unanimous voice vote.

While the bill text is not yet available, it appears as though the bill would continue funding the Office of Adolescent Health’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP) at the current level of $101 million and funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) would remain at $33 million.

Unfortunately, level funding for TPPP and DASH comes at the expense of a proposed 50% increase for the competitive abstinence-only-until-marriage (AOUM) grant program, which would bring the program’s total to $15 million in FY 2017.

Last year alone, AOUM funding increased from $55 million to $85 million. Nearly $2 billion in federal funding to date has been wasted on stigmatizing and shaming AOUM programs that withhold potentially life-saving and life-affirming information from our nation’s youth. Yet Congress continues to ignore decades worth of science that debunk the myth that a “just say no” approach to sexual health equips young people with the information and skills they need—and to which they have the right—to lead healthy lives.

The Senate bill now advances to the full Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration on Thursday, June 9th and is expected to pass. On the other side of the Capitol, there has been no committee activity to date on a FY 2017 LHHS funding bill by the House of Representatives and it grows increasingly unlikely that there will be a hearing on such a bill prior to the summer recess.

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