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Dems' Quiet Plan to Revise Sex-Ed

May 17, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Effective inaction:

>Democrats plan to let a federal abstinence-education program die quietly next month, demonstrating that pursuit of their legislative agenda can sometimes be passive.
>The authorization for Title V abstinence-education grants expires at the end of June, and those on both sides of the sex-education debate agree that the $50 million-a-year mandatory-spending program — which draws an additional $37.5 million match from the states — stands little chance of winning an extension from a Democratic-controlled Congress.
>Democrats generally favor a broader approach to sex education, but the issue is a tricky one politically. So Democrats are not calling attention to the impending demise of the abstinence-only approach.

But Democrats are not just going to let federally-funded sex-education quietly disappear. They have proposed a more holistic sex-ed program to take its place. Their new program is proposed in H.R.1653, which is currently waiting to be acted on by the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

The bill would provide grants “to conduct programs of family life education, including education on both abstinence and contraception for the prevention of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.”

The current abstinence-education grants require teachers to teach that “abstinence is the expected standard for unmarried schoolchildren; that monogamous marriages are ‘the expected standard of human sexual activity’; that abstinence is the only sure way to avoid extramarital pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and related health problems; and that extramarital sex and child-bearing are harmful to parents, children and society.”

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