Accountability for the Return of Abstinence-Only Funding

By Guest Columnist Apr 26, 2010

By Jessica Strong Health care reform’s off the front pages, but the new problems it introduced haven’t gone away. Outraged at the (unanticipated) inclusion of renewed abstinence-only sex education funding in the bill, the group Advocates for Youth has plans to fight back against Capitol Hill and fight for the sexual and reproductive rights of youth. “How bitterly ironic that a measure that threatens the health and lives of young people should be included in healthcare reform,” said James Wagoner, president of Advocates for Youth. Despite the efforts of long-time abstinence-only opponent California Rep. Henry Waxman as well as other legislators to keep abstinence-only funding out of the bill, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch is believed to have crammed it into the bill. Sexual health advocates had previously won an end to years of federal funding for the programs. “Hatch is a Republican who opposes health care reform so there was no political need to placate the author of the measure,” Wagoner complained in a recent blog post. Advocates for Youth has launched an accountability campaign for Democratic leadership in Congress. “I think the campaign will target House and Senate leadership for a clear and transparent explanation as to who insisted this be included and what was their rationale,” Wagoner said. “There remains no excuse to resurrect these failed programs and that needs to be a focus in our efforts.”