House Democrats Vote To Increase Funding Of Failed "Abstinence-Only" Program
DFLA's "Trojan Donkey" effort, to advance the Christian right's reproductive rights agenda within the Democratic Party
seems to be well en route to success, judging by this latest abdication, by House Democrats, of responsibility for the health of young Americans. As James Waggoner, President of Advocates For Youth
writes at RH Reality Check
Today, the House Democrats will waltz into the mark-up of the Labor HHS Subcommittee and proudly present a bill that puts their stamp of approval on domestic abstinence-only-until-marriage programs--an ideological boondoggle that threatens the health and well-being of America's youth.
The most appalling aspect of this sell-out is that that the Democrats will not only fully fund the worst of the failed abstinence-only-until-marriage programs--they'll give them a $27 million increase--the first in three years!.... [note: for more details, see this SIECUS press release]
The "Community Based Abstinence Education" program in question was initiated, under President Clinton, as a bipartisan effort although, in reality, most of the federal money dispersed under the program, now proven ineffective, actually funds activists on the Christian right. I have to wonder about who was advising the Democratic Party on this, but in light of what certain campaign consultants favored by some Democratic Party insiders have recently stated, the HHS Subcommittee's behavior seems less suprising. On November 13, 2006 at a Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life roundtable event, co-founder of the hot new political consultancy "Common Good Strategies" Eric Sapp declared that "I'm pretty sure the pro-life Democrat package also had significant funding for abstinence [education] - which we all know is the most effective way to reduce unwanted pregnancies."
In response to Sapp's declaration, Charmaine Yoest, Vice President for Communications of Family Research Council, then asked Sapp "Could we have it on the record that Eric said "we all know abstinence is the most effective way?" "
to which Sapp replied "Definitely"
This raises the question ; how prevalent is such endorsement of failed public health policies, based on junk science, among those Washington DC political consultants advising the Democratic Party ? During over a decade of "abstinence-only" sex ed in Texas, that state has performed close to the worst, as compared to all other US states, at lowering rates of teen pregnancy and in reducing STD rates.
In effect, the Democrats who have supported the increase in "abstinence-only-until-marriage" program funding under CBAE have chosen to accept, for political expedience, higher than necessary teen STD and pregnancy rates.
Like Waggoner, the Rev. Deborah Haffner, head of the Religious Institute On Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing showed similar outrage, in a post entitled "And The Little Children Shall Suffer":
It feels like a Judas moment.
Yesterday, according to a press release from SIECUS,
"The U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations decided to increase funding for the Community-Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) grants despite overwhelming scientific evidence that the abstinence-only-until-marriage programs it supports do not work.
It was widely believed that the programs would be cut or eliminated by the new Congress, but by adding $27.8 million, the House Appropriations Committee is doing President Bush's bidding and providing $141 million in funding to CBAE. This is almost exactly what the President had requested, and appears to be a ploy by the Democratic majority designed to swing enough Republican votes to make the spending bill veto-proof."
In other words, the House DEMOCRATIC leadership has just INCREASED funding for ineffective, moralistic abstinence-only-until-marriage funding.
As James Waggoner puts it :
[continued from previously cited RH Reality Check article ] In one inglorious motion, the Democrats have sold the health and well-being of young people down the proverbial drain, delivered a public slap in the face to evidence-based public health, and made a mockery of their "prevention first" message.