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July 10, 2009

NARAL Pro-Choice America Praises House Subcommittee for Eliminating Funding for Failed 'Abstinence-Only' Program

Appropriations bill funds President Obama's teen-pregnancy prevention proposal; move marks reversal of ineffective policies promoted during the Bush era

Washington, D.C. – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, hailed a congressional subcommittee's action eliminating funding for 'abstinence-only' programs as a victory for sound science and health over political ideology.

The appropriations subcommittee, which oversees spending on health-related programs, also followed President Obama's budget proposal that called for investments in teen-pregnancy prevention. Rep. David Obey, who serves as chair of the subcommittee as well as the full Appropriations Committee, is expected to lead the bill through the legislative process, which may be as early as next week.

"We commend Chairman Obey and our allies on the subcommittee, along with champions like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Reps. Nita Lowey, Barbara Lee, and Jim Moran, whose leadership made this fundamental change possible," Keenan said. "For too long, political ideology was allowed to trump sound science in a way that jeopardized young people's health. As a former teacher and state superintendent of education, I am more than pleased to see the committee move in such a positive direction. The best way to prevent teen pregnancy and help young people avoid sexually transmitted disease is to provide comprehensive, fact-based sex education in the classroom."

Over the past decade, more than $1.5 billion in taxpayer dollars have been spent on "abstinence-until-marriage" programs that censor life-saving information about contraception from young people. NARAL Pro-Choice America has a longstanding position opposing these ineffective, dangerous programs. Multiple independent studies have shown that these programs do not work, and in some cases young people who participated in the programs actually increased their sexual activity. Continued federal funding of these ineffective programs is unacceptable, considering the country faces a reproductive-health crisis, with one in four teenage girls having a sexually transmitted disease, and one-third of teenage girls becoming pregnant before the age of 20.

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