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Booker Leads Senators in Urging Administration to Eliminate Funding for Abstinence-only Education in Upcoming Budget Request

President requested $85 million in abstinence-only funding for FY18

January 24, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) led a group of nearly a dozen of their Democratic colleagues today in urging the Administration to eliminate funding for abstinence-only education in the President’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget, and redirect those resources to programs grounded in evidence instead. The President requested $85 million in abstinence-only funding for FY18.

In a letter to the Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, the Senators explained how abstinence-only education programs had been proven to be ineffective and harmful and outlined the efficacy of programs that provide medically accurate and complete sexual health information.

“We ask that this Administration abandon abstinence-only approaches and instead promote programs that respect both the science and the rights of young people beginning with the FY 2019 Budget Request,” the Senators wrote in the letter.

“Abstinence-only programs not only withhold necessary and lifesaving information that allows young people to make informed decisions about their own health, but they also provide medically inaccurate and incomplete information, and perpetuate stigma around sex, sexual health, and sexuality,” the Senators wrote in the letter. “Furthermore, research shows that abstinence-only-until-marriage programs are ineffective at stopping or even delaying sex.”

Full text of the letter can be found here.

The letter was also signed by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Tina Smith (D-MN).

Booker has been a strong advocate for comprehensive and inclusive sex education. Earlier this year he reintroduced the Real Education for Health Youth Act, which enhances and expands sex education programs that empower young people to make  healthy, informed decisions throughout their lives.