For Immediate Release Contact: Jen Heitel Yakush
February 14, 2012 202.265.2405 / email@example.com
President’s Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Proves
Continued Commitment to Sex Education
“We commend the President for expressing his continued commitment to more comprehensive approaches to sex education and to providing young people with the information they need about pregnancy, HIV, and STI prevention so they can make healthy and responsible decisions about their sexual health,” said Monica Rodriguez, President and CEO of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS). “The President recently called for an “AIDS Free Generation” and we at SIECUS know this cannot be achieved without educating young people and creating a sexually health America. We are particularly pleased with the commitment from the President and the CDC to school health and restoring funding for the Division of Adolescent and School Health.”
The Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) took a devastating hit in the Fiscal Year 2012 Appropriations Omnibus when its funding was reduced by $10 million, a reduction of 25 percent. The increase in DASH funding, back to the FY 2011 level of $40 million, will serve to achieve the NHAS objectives to educate all Americans about the threat of HIV. Funding will be used to restore funding to state and local education and health agencies for the implementation of school-based HIV prevention activities, funding to NGOs that support HIV-prevention efforts serving youth in high prevalence communities, and necessary surveillance and data collection efforts—all of which were severely slashed after the FY 2012 cut. The $10 million increase for DASH is part of the $40 million increase for HIV prevention at the CDC, which will focus on the areas and communities most impacted by the 50,000 new HIV infections every year.
The two dedicated funding streams dedicated to supporting efforts to reduce teen pregnancy and provide funding for more comprehensive approaches to sexuality education remained in the President’s budget. The President’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, which provides grants to public and private entities to fund evidence-based and innovative, medically accurate, and age-appropriate programs that reduce teen pregnancy and other related risk behaviors, was funded at $104.79 million, just above last year’s funding level. Also included was the mandatory $75 million Personal Responsibility Education Program.
For the third year in a row, the President’s Budget did not include dedicated discretionary funding for ineffective abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. While significantly cutting funding for the evidence-based and data-driven DASH, the Fiscal Year 2012 Omnibus contained an earmark that resurrected funding for the previously discontinued and discredited Community-Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) grant program at $5 million.
However, as it did last year, the President’s budget includes $50 million for the mandatory Title V abstinence-only program. Yet for the first time, the President proposes to fund evidence-based pregnancy prevention efforts targeted to foster care youth with the Title V abstinence-only funds not drawn down by the states. Funded programs would build the evidence base for pregnancy prevention for foster care youth and adapt evidence-based models to fit the needs of this population and would not be limited to the Title V definition of “Abstinence Education.
“The President has shown that he has his health and education priorities in order,” said Rodriguez, adding that, “Eliminating wasteful spending for ineffective abstinence-only-until-marriage programs that do not meet the needs of young people and instead funding programs that are evidence-based and cover the wide range of topics young people need to succeed is smart policy and proves to young people that they are not just political chits to be traded.”
The Obama administration’s budget also maintains level funding for the Title X family planning program and excludes the DC abortion ban, a policy rider that undermines the ability of District residents to decide how they want to spend their own taxpayer dollars on medically necessary abortion for those who cannot afford it.
“The President’s Budget Request is a solid starting point to address the unintended pregnancy, HIV, and STD epidemics in the United States but we have do even more if we are going to achieve SIECUS’ vision of a sexually health America . We look forward to working with Congress in the coming months to build on the President’s request and provide adequate funding for the sexual and reproductive health education and services that all Americans need to be healthy,” concluded Rodriguez.
Please contact Jen Heitel Yakush with any questions or comments at (202) 265-2405 or firstname.lastname@example.org.