March 31, 2010

March 31, 2010
$250 Million for Abstinence Education

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Wednesday and the last day of March. I hope you are having a safe and great week.

Today is starting off as a sunny and beautiful day in south Florida even if it is a little chilly. But with the horrible flooding in the northeast, I hardly have any reason to complain due to slightly chilly temperatures. Especially considering I will probably be begging for a chilly morning by the time we get into summer here.

Had a bad day yesterday. Woke up in pain in my spine and legs which continued almost the entire day. Even the high doses of pain killers did not help much. Since it was a rainy and miserable day outside, I ended up spending the whole day in the house just trying to endure the pain and not complain too much. So far this morning while there is pain, it is not nearly as bad as yesterday.

But on to my subject for today which is Health Reform Provision Secures $250 Million for Abstinence Education.

A provision in the health care reform bill signed into law last week restores $250 million over five years for states to sponsor abstinence only until marriage sex education programs, The Washington Post reports. Such programming was slated to lose all federal funding under President Barack Obama’s first two budgets.

“We are very happy to see that funding will continue so the important sexual health message of risk avoidance will reach American teens,” said Valerie Huber, executive director of DC based lobbying group, the National Abstinence Education Association. “What better place to see such an important health issue addressed than in the health legislation?”

Critics of this funding restoration cite recent data that prove abstinence education programs are ineffective in preventing unwanted teen pregnancies and transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

“To spend a quarter billion dollars on abstinence only until marriage programs that have already been proven to fail is reckless and irresponsible,” said James Wagoner of the DC group Advocates for Youth. “When on top of that you add the fact that this puts the health and lives of young people at risk, this becomes outrageous.”

During former president George W. Bush’s administration, abstinence until marriage programs received more than $100 million annually in direct federal funding and about $50 million each year in federal funding funneled through the states.

The health care reform legislation also includes $75 million annually over five years for a new personal responsibility education program, which would fund programs that teach young people about abstinence and contraception, including condoms. As such, Huber said, abstinence only programs would not likely be eligible for these funds.

Now I have a problem with this being funded at this time not because I do not think we need more prevention efforts; but because we have almost 800 American men and women on ADAP waiting lists in ten states in the country. Prevention should be a focus of our country but not at the cost of allowing men and women to die without access to life saving HIV medications.

Those are my thoughts. What about yours? Drop me a line and let me know.

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab