WASHINGTON May 7 President Barack Obama's
$3.55 trillion budget proposal, released on Thursday,
eliminates spending for programs that teach U.S. schoolchildren
sexual abstinence and shifts funds to programs aimed at
reducing teenage pregnancy.
The administration's $78.4 billion spending plan for the
Department of Health and Human Services, which must be reviewed
and approved by Congress, includes support for teen pregnancy
"The program will fund models that stress the importance of
abstinence while providing medically accurate and
age-appropriate information to youth who have already become
sexually active," the budget proposal said.
The so-called "abstinence only" programs, backed by many
social conservatives who oppose the teaching of contraception
methods to teenagers in schools, have received about $1.3
billion in federal funds since the late 1990s.
A report by the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics published in
March said the U.S. teen birth rate rose for a second straight
year in 2007 after a long decline.
Some experts blame the teen birth rate increases on
government support for "abstinence-only" education under the
Bush administration, which left office in January. But
abstinence-only advocates have defended it as sound.
The American Public Health Association and U.S. Institute
of Medicine told Congress last year that scientific studies
have not found that abstinence-only teaching works to cut
pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases.
(Reporting by JoAnne Allen)