Last week, President Obama unveiled his proposal for the 2017 budget, in which he strips all funding from abstinence-only educational programming.
According to Teen Vogue’s Vera Papisova, Congress has, over the last 20+ years, poured over $1.5 billion into programs that teach abstinence until marriage and don’t educate students on sexual and reproductive health or birth control methods.
The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) states that no conclusive research finding abstinence-only education to be effective has ever been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. In 2007, Mathematica Policy Research conducted a study on abstinence-only programs for the US Department of Health and Human Services. According to their research, not only do students in abstinence-only programs not abstain from sexual activity (the express purpose of said programming), but they’re also actually beginning to engage in sexual activity at the same age as their comprehensively educated counterparts.
President Obama’s proposal includes a $4 million addition to funding for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, a subset of the Office of Adolescent Health that seeks to decrease teen pregnancies and incidences of sexually transmitted diseases and sexually risky behavior in American adolescents.
The 2017 budget shows clear care for the well-being and health of American adolescents who are deserving of adequate, comprehensive education about their bodies. By cutting funding from programs that have continually proven ineffective and supporting strong, evidence-based programming that works within communities to create real solutions and offer valuable information, Obama proves young women are at the top of his priority list.