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2012 Budget Preserves Important Sexual and Reproductive Health Spending

 

For Immediate Release                                                                       Contact: Patrick Malone
February 15, 2011                                                                               (202) 265-2405
                                                                                                               pmalone@siecus.org
 
 
 
Washington, DC – Yesterday, President Obama submitted his budget for the 2012 Fiscal Year. Under increased pressure to reduce discretionary spending in order to reduce the deficit, the President’s budget freezes funding for many important health-related programs, but manages to preserve the core of many initiatives designed to increase access to sexual and reproductive health information and services. The budget reveals the President’s continued commitment to make progress on reducing the number of unplanned pregnancies and to expand access to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment activities, supporting the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.
 
The two dedicated funding sources that were created last year to support efforts to reduce teen pregnancy and provide funding for more comprehensive approaches to sexuality education survived in the President’s budget. The President’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, which gives grants to public and private entities to fund evidence-based and innovative, medically accurate, and age-appropriate programs that reduce teen pregnancy, is funded at last year’s level of $110 million.   The Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), which includes a state-grant program for complete, medically accurate, and age-appropriate sex education, is level-funded at $75 million. 
 
In addition to increasing HIV/AIDS funding for critical research, the President’s budget invests approximately $3.5 billion for discretionary HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment activities at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to increase access to prevention services and align activities with the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.  This includes $858 million for domestic HIV/AIDS prevention in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an increase of $58 million, and the preservation of $40 million for school-based HIV prevention education programs. Also included is $327 million for Title X of the Public Health Service Act, the nation’s primary source of funding for family planning for low-income women, an increase of $11 million.
 
“We are grateful to the President for the places in this budget where he did the right thing for the health and welfare of millions of Americans and continued to fund vital health programs instead of cutting them,” said Monica Rodriguez, President and CEO of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. “We need leadership and investment in the health and future of our nation, not short-term remedies and slash-and-burn cuts such as those that were proposed last week by the House Republicans. The GOP’s shortsighted cuts will only lead to greater costs in the future.”
 
While the President’s budget freezes spending in other important health areas, it continues funding for the failed Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage funding stream. The program, which provides $50 million a year to states to carry out abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, has been widely discredited and proven by the federal government’s own study to be ineffective.
 
“This budget makes clear that President Obama cares about the health and future of America’s young people,” continued Rodriguez,” but it appears that he is giving in to fringe elements in our government who are threatening to hold him hostage. Freezing spending for programs that make people healthier and that can save lives, while preserving spending for failed, abstinence-only-until-marriage programs isn’t compromise, it’s surrender. We hope that whatever final bill that is passed from this budget will show that our country’s priorities lie not in politics, but in real evidence and access to comprehensive information.”
 
Please contact Patrick Malone with any questions or comments at (202) 265-2405 or pmalone@siecus.org.
 
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