What has happened to the Prevention First Act (H.R. 819/S. 21)? Why are these bills stuck in committee while the Democrats are INCREASING funding for abstinence-only education? Don’t they at least have an obligation to hold the line on such misappropriate of funds? We’re talking about the spending of 141 million dollars on programs that we know don’t work and that actually put our communities at risk. And we’re talking about the party in control, the one that is supposed to be friendly to smart sexual health policy, granting this increase in spending and as a result teaching kids that abstinence-until-marriage is the only legitimate approach to sexuality and that condoms don’t work well.
James Wagoner at RH Reality Check, expresses his outrage about this far more articulately than I could express mine. He writes:
I am constantly told that it’s not “politic” to call out our friends on an issue like sex education. There are bigger fish to fry. I’m not buying that anymore. Not when ten thousand young people get an STD, two thousand become pregnant and fifty-five contract HIV every single day in this country. Not when poll after poll shows this issue to be a political winner, not a loser, for Democrats. Not after Democrats exploited this issue in opposition and now, with control of Congress, act like it’s an insignificant chit to be bartered away at the whim of a recalcitrant committee Chairman.
It is now time to call this what it truly is. A stunning disgrace.
A stunning disgrace, indeed. And this is not a new story. We wrote about this here back when the Dems in the House of Representatives voted to approve the increase when they passed the Labor/Health and Human Services appropriations bill. But its in the news again because the bill has just come out of the Democrat-controlled conference committee and the increase is intact. And the increase is outrageous. SIECUS reports that the Senates version of the bill would have reduced funding for abstinence-only programs. Why didn’t they hold that position in the conference committee?
We’re nearing election day and it is important to remember that the Democrats are not so clearly our friends. And they ought not be allowed to continue to get away with hurting us just because the Republicans might hurt us worse.
You know, it really starts to feel like an abusive relationship, doesn’t it? You know, the kind where you are being beaten but feel trapped because if you leave you’ll be worse off?
We need shelters for the battered body politic. I think they’re called multiple-party systems. You know, where real choices are possible.
Maybe that would be a truly “pro-choice” system.
I think we need to start building one.
*The Prevention First Act is only one of a slew of bills that were introduced to try to make sane sex ed and contraception policy. The REAL (Responsible Education About Life) Act is another that is stuck in committee. For a look at the whole list, depressing though it is that none are moving, click here.
Note: This piece is also published on my blog at our community-building site, SexInThePublicSquare.org. Drop by and join in!
Photo of “Condom Police” sign not taken in the US no matter how much it may feel that way. The sign was photographed in Vanuatu by “Phnk“, posted on Flickr and used here under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.