One small part of the president's $17 billion in budget cuts couldn't be more timely. He's eliminating federal funding for abstinence-only education. This Bush-era, religiously driven, completely ineffective form of sex education told teenagers only to abstain from sex until marriage. It did not teach them anything about biological human function. It was also just about completely ineffective in preventing teen sex, despite what Bristol Palin now says. Here's the part of the budget that describes what federal sex-ed funding will now teach.
"The program will fund models that stress the importance of abstinence while providing medically accurate and age-appropriate information to youth who have already become sexually active," the budget proposal said.
The so-called "abstinence only" programs, backed by many social conservatives who oppose the teaching of contraception methods to teenagers in schools, have received about $1.3 billion in federal funds since the late 1990s.
A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics published in March said the U.S. teen birth rate rose for a second straight year in 2007 after a long decline.
This is true compromise. Can you imagine the hubbub that would have exploded if liberals forced children of conservative families to learn in public school that they must have sex? And yet for the past eight years, children of liberals attending schools in many parts of the country have been deprived knowledge of human biology, and taught only to "not have sex."
Abstinence-only funding, by the way, did not start with the Bush administration. President Clinton actually started it, on a much smaller scale, toward the end of his second term in office. President Bush magnified federal funding by a geometric factor. That, too, is now blissfully behind us, as is his presidency.
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By Bonnie Erbe