Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives’ voted to bar Planned Parenthood health centers from all federal funding for birth control, HIV testing, cancer screenings, and other lifesaving care. Planned Parenthood is a trusted health care provider and an informed educator, providing vital reproductive health care, as well as sex education and information to millions of women, men, and young people worldwide.
Since taking office, President Obama has ended three decades of presidential promotion of abstinence-only-until-marriage funds and programs while introducing new funding to comprehensive sex education initiatives. However, with policies and funding taking a major turn, much of this has yet to lead to real program implementation on state and local level. The new funding initiatives are encountering resistance particularly in the South, which continues to receive the highest amounts of federal abstinence-only-until-marriage funding while surveys also show that a larger percentage of youth in the South engage in riskier sexual health behaviors compared to their counterparts in the rest of the country.
Notably, California saw the steepest decline in their teen pregnancy rate between 1992 and 2005 (52% decline versus a national decline of 37%) and is the only state that never accepted federal abstinence-only-until-marriage funding, ending its own experiment with abstinence-only-until-marriage programs in the mid-1990s, shifting its resources to comprehensive sex education programs. Now more than ever, is a time to promote substantial human sexuality education in all American schools, ensuring the success and furthering of new policies where it matters.
SIECUS. "A Portrait of Sexuality Education and Abstinence-Only-Until Marriage Programs in the States. An Overview. Fiscal Year 2009 Edition" (2010).