For Immediate Release Contact: Patrick Malone
February 2, 2010 (202) 492-6172
President’s Request Will Provide Needed Funds, but Limit Options
Washington, DC – Yesterday, President Obama submitted his budget for the 2011 Fiscal Year. The $3.8 trillion measure invests in effective programs that will improve sexual and reproductive health outcomes. The President’s budget includes increases for teen pregnancy prevention, family planning, and HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment. A notable increase of $19.2 million was requested for the teen pregnancy prevention initiative created last year, which brings the total to $133.7 million.
“At a time when other domestic programs are facing cuts or being frozen, we are very pleased, and grateful to the President, that these programs are going to receive the funding they deserve,” said Jen Heitel Yakush, director of public policy for the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS). “The failed experiment of using federal funding to support the abstinence-only-until-marriage industry is over, and we can now continue to move forward to fund programs that work.”
However, by focusing the funding on teenage pregnancy prevention, and not including the equally important health issues of STDs and HIV, the administration missed an opportunity to provide true, comprehensive sex education that promotes healthy behaviors and relationships for all young people, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth. While preventing unintended teen pregnancy is clearly a priority, educators on the ground know that they best serve young people when they address the inter-related health needs of young people.
“So many negative health outcomes, be they unintended pregnancies, STDs or HIV, stem from the same behavior of unprotected sex, and that is the behavior we need to change” continued Heitel Yakush. “We hope that Congress will focus the discussion on what programs to fund by looking at the evidence and seeing what works, not by limiting ourselves to one strategy right out of the gate.”
The budget also proposes an increase of $31 million for HIV prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This falls far short of the increase of $878 million the CDC estimates it needs to bring down the number of new infections—estimated to be over 56,000 every year. The budget also proposes an increase of $9.86 million to the Title X family planning program, for a total of just over $327 million. While increases in this tight budget year are appreciated, we ask Congress to increase these funding level to meet the needs all Americans.
Please contact Patrick Malone with any questions or comments at (202)265-2405 or firstname.lastname@example.org.