Petition Closed
Petitioning The President of the United States
This petition will be delivered to:
The President of the United States

Support the Repealing Ineffective and Incomplete Abstinence-Only Program Funding Act of 2011.

Urge the United States House of Representatives, the United States Senate, and President Obama to pass the Repealing Ineffective and Incomplete Abstinence-Only Program Funding Act of 2011 (H.R.1085/ S.578)

What is the Repealing Ineffective and Incomplete Abstinence-Only Program Funding Act of 2011?

The Repealing Ineffective and Incomplete Abstinence-Only Program Funding Act of 2011 (H.R.1085/ S.578), sponsored by U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA9) and U.S. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), is a bill that would end funding for Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage programs and redirect this funding to the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), a state grant funding stream for more comprehensive sex education programs.

The Problem

Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Sex Education Programs

Abstinence-only-until-marriage programs have been discredited by a wide body of evidence, including most recently in a congressionally mandated study in 2007 which found these programs ineffective in stopping or delaying teen sex, reducing the number of reported sexual partners, reducing reported rates of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections, or otherwise beneficially impacting young people's sexual behavior. The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences recommends the termination of such programs because they represent `poor fiscal and public health policy'.

Leading medical and public health professional groups, including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Society of Adolescent Health and Medicine, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Nurses Association, the American Public Health Association, and the American Psychological Association, oppose an abstinence-only-until-marriage approach as antithetical to the principles of science. These organizations all stress the need for sexuality education that includes messages about abstinence and also provide young people with information about contraception for the prevention of teen pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, and other STIs.

Teen Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Diseases

The United States has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the developed world. Between 1990 and 2005, the United States teenage pregnancy rate declined 41 percent. For the first time in more than a decade, the rate rose 3 percent in 2006. At the same time, teens were receiving less information about contraception in schools and their use of contraceptives was declining.

While young people in the United States aged 15 to 25 make up only 1/4 of the sexually active population, they contract about 1/2 of the 19,000,000 sexually transmitted infections (STIs) which occur annually. Young people ages 13 to 29 account for nearly 1/3 of the estimated 56,300 new HIV infections each year. Every hour, 1 young person is infected with HIV. In 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 1 in 4 young women between the ages of 14 and 19 and nearly 1 in 2 African-American young women are infected with at least one of the four most common STIs.

Effects of Abstinence Only Programs on the Economy

Since 1996, the United States has spent over $1,500,000,000 in Federal funding on abstinence-only-until-marriage programs that fail to teach teens how to prevent unintended pregnancy or STIs, including HIV. Congress continues to provide $50 million each year for Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, despite a 10-year Congressionally mandated evaluation that showed that these programs have no impact on teen behavior. Particularly during the Nation's worst economic disaster since the Great Depression, government funding should only support evidence-based programs.
In contrast, the Personal Responsibility Education Program currently provides $75 million each year in first-of-its-kind state grant funding for comprehensive sex education programs that have been scientifically evaluated to have a measurable impact. This bill would expand funding for this groundbreaking program.

The Solution

The Effects of Sex Education Program on Teen Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Diseases

There is strong evidence that more comprehensive approaches to sex education help young people both to withstand the pressures to have sex too soon and to have healthy, responsible, and mutually protective relationships when they do become sexually active. More comprehensive sex education has been found to be effective in delaying sexual intercourse, increasing contraceptive use, and reducing the number of partners among teens.

Strong evidence indicates that sex education programs that promote both abstinence and the use of contraception does not increase sexual behavior. Studies show that when teens are educated about and have access to contraception, levels of contraception use at first intercourse increase while levels of sex stay the same.

 Teens who receive sex education that includes both abstinence and contraception are more likely than those who receive abstinence-only-until-marriage messages to delay sexual activity and use contraception when they do become sexually active. Research from the United States shows that teens who practice contraception consistently in their first sexual relationship are more likely to continue doing so than those who use no method or who use a method inconsistently.

Public Opinion of Sex Education

According to the results of a 2005-2006 nationally representative survey of United States adults published in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, more than 8 in 10 (82 percent) of those polled, regardless of political ideology, support comprehensive sex education that is medically accurate and age-appropriate and includes information about both abstinence and contraception for protection against unintended pregnancy and STIs, including HIV.

Effects of Sex Educations Programs on the Economy

 The Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) funds programs that are required to provide information on both abstinence and contraception for the prevention of pregnancy and STIs, including HIV/AIDS, with a substantial emphasis on both abstinence and contraceptive use. Programs must also address adulthood preparation topics such as healthy relationships, adolescent development, financial literacy, educational and career success, and healthy life skills. Funded programs are required to be evidence-based or replicate elements of evidence-based programs that have been proven on the basis of rigorous scientific research to change behavior.

In contrast, the Personal Responsibility Education Program currently provides $75 million each year in first-of-its-kind state grant funding for comprehensive sex education programs that have been scientifically evaluated to have a measurable impact. This bill would expand funding for this groundbreaking program.

What will the Repealing Ineffective and Incomplete Abstinence-Only Program Funding Act of 2011 do?

The Repealing Ineffective and Incomplete Abstinence-Only Program Funding Act of 2011 (H.R.1085/ S.578), would end funding for Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage programs and redirect this funding to the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), a state grant funding stream for more comprehensive sex education programs.

The bill would also reprogram $50 million annually to evidence-based, comprehensive sex education programs funded through the Personal Responsibility Education (PREP) program. 

PREP funds comprehensive sex education programs that provide both abstinence and contraception information to teens and educate them about sexually transmitted diseases.

It would amends title V (Maternal and Child Health Services) of the Social Security Act to:

-(1) eliminate the abstinence-only education program,

-(2) rescind unobligated FY2010 and 2011 program appropriations, and

-(3) reprogram such rescinded appropriations for the personal responsibility education program (PREP) for FY2012-FY2014.

What can you do to get the Repealing Ineffective and Incomplete Abstinence-Only Program Funding Act of 2011 passed?

Please write to and/or call your U.S. Representatives and Senators and President Obama tell them to pass the Repealing Ineffective and Incomplete Abstinence-Only Program Funding Act of 2011 (H.R.1085/ S.578). Also ask your U.S. Representatives and Senators to co-sponsor the Repealing Ineffective and Incomplete Abstinence-Only Program Funding Act of 2011 (H.R.1085/ S.578).


Letter to
The President of the United States
I urge you to support the Repealing Ineffective and Incomplete Abstinence-Only Program Funding Act (S. 578/H.R. 1085).

Study after study has shown that abstinence-only programs, which have eaten up more than $1.5 billion in federal funds over the past 15 years, fail to dissuade teens from engaging in sexual activity or educate them on how to use proper protection to avoid sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancies. Instead, abstinence-only programs censor vital healthcare information, promote gender stereotypes, provide inaccurate information, stigmatize lesbian and gay teens, and, in some cases, promote particular religious views with tax dollars in violation of the First Amendment.

The bill would strike the wasteful and ineffective Title V abstinence grant program, and instead re-program $50 million annually to evidence-based comprehensive sex education programs, which includes information about both abstinence and contraception.

I ask that the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate please vote yes, and co-sponsor this legislation. Also I ask that President Obama sign it into law.

Sincerely,