The Obama budget cuts two abstinence-only programs, but the administration's not completely ruling out funding for the idea.
Last week, it seemed that the White House was ignoring the advice of Bristol Palin. While one of the country’s most recognizable teenage mothers did her best to tout abstinence, the Obama administration released a budget proposal that cuts funding for two abstinence-only education programs.
But now comes news that the proposed cuts don’t necessarily mean that abstinence will have no place in the Obama team’s plan to reduce teenage pregnancy in the U.S. After speaking with a White House official, Christian Broadcasting Network White House Correspondent David Brody points out that abstinence-only programs could still receive federal money through the Obama budget. The official told Brody the budget “increases overall funding for teenage pregnancy prevention, which may include education on abstinence, and supports programs based on research.”
The official added that 75 percent of the funding would go to “programs that have [been] demonstrated by rigorous research to prevent teen pregnancy.” It’s doubtful that abstinence-only programs, which received over $1 billion in government funding during the Bush administration, will qualify to receive federal assistance based on this criterion. A 2007 Congressional study found that the programs did not stop teenagers from having sex.
However, the official told Brody that the other 25 percent of the federal funds could go towards “promising, but not yet proven, programs for which we have some indication that they achieve the goal of teen pregnancy prevention.” The official added that abstinence-only education could qualify for that money, but any programs — abstinence-based or not — receiving that funding would “have to agree to participate in a rigorous evaluation.”.
The White House seems to be trying to eat its proverbial cake on this issue. Obama is leaving the door open to abstinence-only education in principle, but putting the pressure on program advocates to prove that it works — something that the White House has already acknowledged isn’t the case at present.
Last week, the administration said it had proposed cutting the abstinence-only programs because there was no evidence that they were effective. Melody Barnes, the President’s Domestic Policy Adviser and the Director of the Domestic Policy Council, said, “In any area where Americans want to confront a problem, they want solutions they know will work, as opposed to programming they know hasn’t proven to be successful. Given where we’ve been in recent years, I think this is a very important moment.”
In January, the National Center for Health Statistics released a study showing teen birth rates were up significantly in 26 states during 2006 – the most recent year for which reliable data was available.
Vincent Rossmeier is an editorial assistant at Salon. More Vincent Rossmeier.
More Related Stories
- There's no substitute for government disaster relief
- Holder signed off on search warrant for reporter
- Mississippi could begin prosecuting women for miscarriages
- Mike Judge: "Bowling for Columbine" made me pro-gun
- Closing Gitmo is not enough
- Murkowski: Palin too disengaged to run for Senate
- In IRS scandal, new GOP tactic is ignorance
- Code Pink activist berates Obama at national security speech
- Cuomo: "Shame on us" if New York City elects Weiner
- Coburn calls questions about tornado aid "typical Washington B.S."
- Conspiracy theorists clash over London attack
- Voting is not a right
- Destroying the planet for record profits
- Ahead of Obama's speech, U.S. acknowledges four American drone killings
- Pic of the day: Barack Obama at prom
- Anti-Islam backlash in London after machete attack
- Must-see morning clip: Bill O'Reilly visits "The Daily Show"
- Obama’s drone speech will probably be maddening
- Boehner: "Inconceivable" Obama didn't know about IRS targeting
- Obama to announce new effort to close Guantanamo Bay
- House supporters of KXL received $56m from fossil fuel industry
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11