By Jessica Strong
The Obama administration can add this one to its ever-growing list of progressive criticisms: The health insurance reforms the president finalized this morning include a revival of the controversial abstinence-only education initiative known as Title V.
Title V, created by Congress in 1996 under the Welfare Reform Act, offered a funding stream for narrowly tailored programs that teach students exclusively about avoiding sex until marriage, without discussing safer sex tools like condoms. Youth health and sexuality advocates hated it. Many stressed that Black and Latino youth - particularly young women - could least afford a safety-information blackout, given their disproportionately high HIV and STD rates.
After a decade of extravagant funding and virtually no data to demonstrate its effectiveness, Title V’s funding was briefly suspended last year. And President Obama fulfilled his campaign promise to cut funding for abstinence-only education by terminating the program in his projected budget for the Fiscal Year 2010.
Surprise, surprise. Title V is back, with a $250 million outlay over five years.