After ten years of funding sex education programs built on abstinence, the federal government is getting a little bit looser. A little bit! This year, “a five-year, $375 million grant is being divided among 28 programs that have been proven to lower the pregnancy rate among participants, no matter their focus,” the AP reports. It’s still an “above the waist” approach, but sometimes — if you’re really lucky — you might even get a condom.
According to some prude who is less prude than the last prudes, “It’s not just body parts.” The suit at The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy maintains, “It’s saying, ‘What are your goals?’ and helping young people understand what they need to do to get there.”
That theory, which has become popular in the safe-sex community in the past decade, will replace the abstinence-centered talks funded by a Republican Congress in the late 1990s and later under President George W. Bush to the tune of $1.5 billion.
Meanwhile, there are facts. Like, “students in abstinence-only programs are no more likely to abstain from sex, delay having sex or have fewer partners than students who received no sex education at all.” And, “teen birth rate rose from 2005 to 2007 after years of a steady decline, then dipped again in 2008.”
First, the bad news:
Almost all U.S. teens have had formal sex education, but only about two-thirds have been taught birth control methods, according to a CDC report released Sept. 15.
And then the good news:
[The National Abstinence Education Association] estimates 169 abstinence programs serving 1 million teens nationwide will lose millions in funding. Those programs have received about $100 million a year in direct funds since 2005.
It’s a start. Now, hopefully the government can learn a thing or two about, um, stamina.