Can Obama Defund Abstinence-Only Education?

Sex Ed

Amy Jo Goddard at TEDx Napa Valley 2014. Photo courtesy of TEDx Napa Valley.

Maybe you’ve seen it. The headline reads, “Obama eliminates ‘abstinence only’ education from federal budget.” The president’s proposal to cut federal support for abstinence-only sex education is based on evidence that telling teens “just don’t do it” just plain doesn’t work as well as comprehensive sex education to reduce teens’ risky behavior.

But can he really do that?

In short: nope, Obama can’t. Only Congress can approve a budget. Congress hasn’t held any budget votes or introduced any budget proposals of their own so far this year, but odds that the current Congress would zero out abstinence-only sex education are slim to none.

This is the same Congress that has held repeated votes to defund Planned Parenthood – an organization that provides reproductive health services and comprehensive sex education. A 360-degree turn to defund abstinence-only education instead? Not likely.