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July 17, 2009

House Committee Scores Win for Sound Science, Rejects Push to Restore 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 committee's rejection of an anti-choice effort to restore funding for ineffective "abstinence-only" programs. The victory in the full House Appropriations Committee upheld a subcommittee's decision last week to eliminate funding for the program.

The committee followed President Obama's budget proposal that calls for investments in teen-pregnancy prevention. Rep. David Obey, chair of the full Appropriations Committee, led opposition to the anti-choice amendment today.

"We commend Chairman Obey and our allies on the House Appropriations Committee, for delivering two consecutive victories for sound science over political ideology," Keenan said. "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. That's the message we will take to lawmakers as the bill goes to the House floor."

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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