The government ends funding for abstinence-only sex education.
Buoyed by $1.9 billion in government funding since 1997 ($1.5 billion of that federal money), abstinence-only education grew from a niche market to a booming industry, with hundreds of curriculums for teachers to choose from. But if the 2000s were abstinence’s boom years, the next decade may well be its bust. With Obama’s budget for 2010 dropping all abstinence-until-marriage funds from the federal budget, past grantees are left uncertain. Congress could restore funding; the Senate Finance Committee voted to do so, 12–11, last month. But the measure must still pass the full Congress, where chances are slim. So abstinence-only groups are left hoping private donors will step forward to at least partially fill the gap. “The open question is whether these organizations will continue to thrive when federal funding is no longer available,” says Alesha Doan, author of The Politics of Virginity: Abstinence in Sex Education (Greenwood Publishing Group, 2008).