Bush's New Budget Allocates an Extra $28M for Abstinence-Only
President Bush's newly released 2008 budget proposal allocates more money for faith-based abstinence-only education programs and no increases for family planning services. The war-focused proposal, which has already received criticism from both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), allocates $28 million more -- for a total of $191 million -- for faith-based programs that teach and encourage abstinence to students aged 12 to 18. The additional $28 million will go towards the Community-based Abstinence Education competitive grant; funding for the two other federally supported abstinence-only programs, Adolescent Family Life Act and Title V, will remain at current levels.
The new budget provides no increased funding for Title X funding, which provides poor women with family planning services, or comprehensive sex education. Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said of Bush's proposal, "He flat-lines family-planning servicesï¿½ yet proposes another huge increase, $28 million more, for unproven 'abstinence-only' programs that censor teachers from giving teens accurate information on topics like birth control," McClatchy Newspapers reports.
Advocates for Youth (AFY), an organization that promotes comprehensive information about sex for young people, is critical of Bush's renewed support of abstinence-only education because it puts "ideology over science and basic common sense." Says James Wagoner, president of AFY, "The President may still be in the dark about what works, but research tells us that teenagers who receive comprehensive sex education that includes discussion about abstinence and contraception are more likely to delay sexual initiation longer and, when they do become sexually active, to have fewer partners and use contraception than those who receive abstinence-only messages."
Bush's proposed $2.9 trillion budget, which aims to balance the budget by 2012, calls for a 10.7 percent increase in defense and homeland security spending and a 1 percent increase in domestic spending in 2008. Over the next 20 months, Bush is asking for almost $250 billion for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, in addition to the Pentagon's regular budget, NPR reports.