ACLU Applauds Cut to Abstinence-Only Program and Urges Senate to Fund Effective Family Planning

June 21, 2007 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union today applauded the Senate Appropriations Committee’s decision to cut funding for the Community Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) program and raise funding for the family planning program Title X. In a markup Tuesday, subcommittee members voted to decrease CBAE by $28 million and increase Title X by $16 million, a move the full committee ratified today.

“Over the years, Congress has allocated well over half a billion dollars for programs that focus exclusively on abstinence and censor vital information that can help young people make responsible decisions about sexual activity,” said Caroline Fredrickson, director the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “While the discussion of abstinence is an important component of any educational program about human sexuality, federally funded programs that focus exclusively on abstinence have been shown not to work, and raise civil liberties concerns. Given the current fiscal environment and the lack of evidence to support such programs, we believe it would be irresponsible for Congress to allocate new tax dollars towards abstinence-only programs.”

On the other hand, Title X, the national family planning program, is a public health success story. Clinics funded by Title X have long been an important part of our nation’s public health system, providing not only family planning services but also basic and preventive health care to low-income individuals. Title X services prevent unintended pregnancies, promote pre- and post-natal health, lower rates of sexually transmitted diseases, and improve women’s health. For every public dollar invested in family planning, three dollars are saved in Medicaid costs for pregnancy and newborn care alone.

The ACLU urges Congressional leadership to continue efforts to eliminate funding for CBAE and instead invest in programs, such as Title X, that protect and promote public health.

For more information on abstinence-only and comprehensive sex education programs, visit:

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