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July 29, 2009

Key Bill Zeroes Out Funding for "Abstinence-Only" Classes

Progress in Senate comes days after the House eliminated funding for the failed programs

Washington, D.C. – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, praised pro-choice members of a key Senate appropriations subcommittee for eliminating funding for ineffective, discredited "abstinence-only" programs.

This report from the Senate comes days after the House passed its version of the FY'10 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill that also eliminates this funding. Both bills follow President Obama's budget proposal that calls for an end to the ineffective programs and, instead, recommends investments in fact-based initiatives to prevent teen pregnancy.

"We commend Sen. Tom Harkin and other pro-choice leaders on the subcommittee, as well as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, for making this important policy change—and we look forward to working with them as this bill moves forward in the Senate," Keenan said. "As a former teacher and state superintendent of education, I know 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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