Senate Finance Committee Votes to Fund Comprehensive Sex Education

Failed Title V Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Funding Also Restored

On September 29, the Senate Finance Committee approved an amendment offered by Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) to fund a comprehensive sex education funding stream; providing $75 million for states; $50 million of which would be geared to evidence-based, medically accurate, age-appropriate programs.

There was also a vote on an amendment introduced by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) that reinstated funding for the Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage program which had expired on June 30, 2009. 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.

Based on over 15 years of research, the evidence shows that comprehensive sexuality education programs for youth that encourage abstinence, promote appropriate condom use, and teach sexual communication skills reduce HIV-risk behavior and also delay the onset of sexual intercourse.

APA recommends that programs to prevent HIV and sexually transmitted diseases among youth should provide clear definitions of the behaviors targeted for change; only those programs whose efficacy and effectiveness have been well-established through sound scientific methods should be supported for widespread implementation; and new programs to prevent HIV and sexually transmitted diseases among youth should be tested against those programs with proven effectiveness.