Congress Renews Abstinence Funding
Special Report - December 21, 2007
Congress closed out its 2007 session on Wednesday, December 19, by renewing federal funding for abstinence until marriage education programs. First, Congress approved a provision in a medical insurance bill (S. 2499) that extends Title V funding for abstinence education through June 30, 2008. The program is authorized under section 510 of Title V of the Social Security Act and allocates $50 million a year nationwide for abstinence until marriage education in public schools. Individual states can apply for the funds or choose to opt out. North Carolina currently receives approximately $1.24 million from the Title V program annually.
Secondly, congressional lawmakers included as part of a $555 billion “omnibus” appropriations bill (H.R. 2764) over $113 million for the Community-Based Abstinence Education Program (CBAE). Implemented by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CBAE awards grants directly to community-based programs, including non-profit and faith-based organizations, that adhere to the federal eight-point definition of abstinence education. Among other standards, the program requires grant recipients to teach that sexual abstinence outside of marriage is the “expected standard” for school children and that a monogamous marriage is “the expected standard of human sexuality.”
In addition to funding CBAE, the appropriations bill includes $305 million under Title X of the Public Health Service Act for family planning organizations that support contraception-based sex education. Pro-life lawmakers successfully derailed an effort to add language to the bill that would have weakened the Mexico City Policy, a pro-life policy that prevents taxpayer dollars from funding any foreign, non-government operation that performs or promotes abortion as a method of family planning.
“CBAE grants and Title V dollars provide community organizations and schools across our country with the opportunity to offer young people a crucial, risk-avoidance public health message about sex,” said Valerie Huber, executive director of the National Abstinence Education Association. “Recognizing that the majority of American parents want their children to learn the holistic, age-appropriate information provided in abstinence programs, Congress, in a bi-partisan effort, has honored that choice by voting for funds that support this message.”
Copyright © 2007. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.