Federal Democratic Lawmakers Introduce Bill That Would Provide $206M for Comprehensive Sex Education Programs
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) on Thursday introduced a bill that would provide $206 million for comprehensive sex education programs nationwide, the Contra Costa Times reports. The Responsible Education About Life, or REAL, Act -- which already has 65 co-sponsors -- would provide federal funding to state sex education programs that provide "medically accurate" information about the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, according to the Contra Costa Times. Lee said that measures, which would be funded using program grants administered by HHS, would stress the importance of abstinence but also recognize that many young people are sexually active, adding that young people "need tools to stop unwanted pregnancies and fight HIV/AIDS and other deadly diseases" (Vorderbrueggen, Contra Costa Times, 2/11). The legislation is aimed at matching "dollar for dollar" the amount of federal funding states spend on abstinence-only sex education programs, the Washington Times reports. President Bush in his fiscal year 2006 budget proposal requested $206 million for abstinence-only sex education programs, a $38 million increase over FY 2005 levels, according to the Washington Times. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who with Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) is co-sponsoring a companion measure in the Senate, said, "For years, taxpayer dollars have been flooding into unproven abstinence-only programs while there's no federal program that's dedicated to the comprehensive view," adding that abstinence-only education provides young people with "half the story, and they need the full picture" (Wetzstein, Washington Times, 2/11). The measures are expected to face "considerable opposition" from conservative and religious organizations, according to the Contra Costa Times (Contra Costa Times, 2/11).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.