DearColleague.us

Letter

Barbara Lee

From the office of:

Barbara Lee

From: The Honorable Barbara Lee
Sent By: mariah.jones@mail.house.gov
Bill: H.R. 3774
Date: 12/19/2013

Co-sponsor HR 3774 to Repeal Ineffective Abstinence-Only Programs
Endorsed by: Advocates for Youth, AIDS Alliance for Women, Infants, Children, Youth & Families, The AIDS Institute, AIDS United, American Civil Liberties Union, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Choice USA, Guttmacher Institute, Healthy Teen Network, Human Rights Campaign, National Council of Jewish Women, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, National Women’s Law Center, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Secular Coalition for America, Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS)
Co-sponsors: James P. Moran, Gwen Moore, Lois Capps, Janice D. Schakowsky, Sam Farr, Louise Slaughter, Earl Blumenauer, Yvette Clarke, Keith Ellison, Kathy Castor, Raul Grijalva, Diana DeGette
Dear Colleague:
I write to invite you to co-sponsor legislation that I have reintroduced: H.R. 3774, The Repealing Ineffective and Incomplete Abstinence-Only Program Funding Act of 2013. This act will finally put an end to federal funding of abstinence-only-until marriage programs by eliminating the statutory language authorizing them in Title V Section 510 of the Social Security Act. Funding from Section 510 would instead be reprogrammed to support more comprehensive approaches to sexuality education through the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), authorized in the health care reform law.
The United States has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the developed world and young people ages 13 to 24 account for one-quarter of the estimated 50,000 new HIV infections each year, the largest share of any age group. We cannot afford to continue funding ineffective programs that jeopardize the health of America’s youth.
Since 1996, the United States has spent over $1.75 billion in federal funding for abstinence-only-until marriage programs that fail to teach teens how to prevent unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Although the original authorization to fund these programs lapsed, the health care reform law provided an additional $50 million per year to fund abstinence-only-until marriage programs through 2014, despite clear evidence that it has failed to fulfill its purported purpose of stopping or even delaying adolescent sexual behavior.
Abstinence-only-until-marriage programs have been discredited by a wide body of evidence, including a Congressionally-mandated study in 2007. Abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, rebranded as “sexual risk avoidance,” deny young people lifesaving information by providing misinformation and withholding accurate information that young people need to make informed and health decisions. 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.”
I urge you to sign on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 3774, The Repealing Ineffective and Incomplete Abstinence-Only Program Funding Act and support increased funding for comprehensive sexuality education programs. If you have questions or would like to become a co-sponsor, please contact Mariah Jones of my staff at Mariah.Jones@mail.house.gov, or at 5-2661.
Sincerely,
/s/
Barbara Lee
Member of Congress