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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Abstinence Only - Condoms Don't Work Programs: Faith Based Pork

I didn't make up the term "Faith Based Pork", I heard Pat Buchanan use it on a TV panel. From Truth Dig:

and a Congress now led by Democrats, it is a piddling sum, barely worth mentioning. So no one does.

Not the White House, which claimed in vetoing the $150.7 billion spending bill for health, labor and education programs that it refuses to approve measures financing “duplicative or ineffective” programs. Not the Democrats, who harrumph that Bush continues to place blind faith and billions of taxpayer dollars in his own failed policies.

No one really wants to address the odd saga of how abstinence-only sex education programs, which have been shown by government and other studies to be wholly ineffective in changing sexual behavior among teenagers, are still getting federal money—more, in fact, than ever before. Those who tend to get mad about “runaway spending” for wasteful programs should be downright incensed.

Since 1996, federal allocations for abstinence-only sex education programs grew from $4 million to $176 million. In this year’s budget, Bush asked for a boost of $28 million, a sum congressional Democrats agreed to as a way to encourage Republicans to vote for the spending bill. “The abstinence money is very important to Republicans,” says a congressional aide when asked about the issue.

But not so important that enough Republicans will vote to override Bush’s veto of the larger spending measure that funds so many health and education programs dear to Democrats.

Whenever the budget impasse ends, abstinence-only programs are likely to get a total of $204 million. That’s about as much as the infamous and now-abandoned “bridge to nowhere” in Alaska, an excess considered so extreme that its exposure sparked a backlash against congressional earmarking. At least the bridge was meant to perform an easily identifiable function—it was to link one sparsely populated island town with an airport on a neighboring island.

Abstinence-only programs don’t even meet this thin test. “This is kids’ health and lives,” says James Wagoner of Advocates for Youth, an organization that promotes comprehensive sex education. Why are we more agitated over pork-barrel bridges than poor information that is getting drummed into impressionable young heads?

Go read the whole thing. Perhaps a group of parents needs to sue a district to point out that these programs are religious in nature, and therefore a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.