When the Senate Finance Committee started debating the healthcare reform bill earlier this week, an amendment to fund comprehensive sex education was approved. This is in contrast to the abstinence-only education that has been and is currently on the curriculum in most schools (and is promoted by the federal government).
According to the press release from SIECUS, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States,
The Senate Finance Committee approved an amendment offered by Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) to fund a comprehensive sex education funding stream, The Personal Responsibility Education for Adulthood Training. The amendment provides $75 million for states; $50 million of which would be geared to evidence-based, medically accurate, age-appropriate programs to educate adolescents about both abstinence and contraception in order to prevent unintended teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS. The remaining funds would be for innovative programs as well as research and evaluation. The amendment passed 14–9 with Republican Senator Olympia Snowe (ME) joining all the Democrats voting in favor.
There was also a vote on an amendment introduced by Senator Orin Hatch (R-UT) that reinstated funding for the failed Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage program which had expired on June 30, 2009. The amendment passed 12–11 with Democratic Senators Blanche Lincoln (AR) and Kent Conrad (ND) joining all the Republicans on the Committee in favor. Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage funding had been refused by nearly half of the states both because of the restrictive nature of the program and the fact that overwhelming evidence has proven these programs to be ineffective and a waste of taxpayer dollars. This amendment would direct $50 million a year through FY 2014 for the extension of the Title V abstinence-only programs.
Both amendments still face several potential hurdles in committee, on the Senate floor, and in conference with the House before they become law.
To read the entire press release, click here.