Health Law Slips in $250M for Abstinence-Only Education

Critics charge approach is ineffective, dangerous
By Emily Rauhala,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2010 3:31 AM CDT
Health Law Slips in $250M for Abstinence-Only Education
Teen mom Bristol Palin was a product of abstinence-only education.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

Obama's health care reform includes $250 million for abstinence-only sexual education. To receive the funding, programs must teach that abstinence from sexual activity is "the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and other associated health problems." They must also tell young people that pre-marital sex is "likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects," CNN notes.

Furious critics charge that supporting abstinence-based programs is wasteful and dangerous. A 2009 study published in Pediatrics showed teens who made virginity pledges are just as likely to have sex before marriage and less likely to use condoms or birth control when they do have sex. The law also sets up a separate funding stream of $75 million for "personal responsibility education," which includes teaching about both abstinence and contraception.

(Read more abstinence education stories.)

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