Obama’s Budget Proposal Slashes Obamacare Abstinence Grants

President Barack Obama’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2015 would eliminate funding for abstinence-only education.

The bulk of federal funding for school programs that encourage waiting until marriage to have sex currently comes from the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

Obama’s signature legislative achievement set aside $50 million in annual funding for abstinence education block grants to states through fiscal year 2014. The grant program would end if the budget proposal becomes law.

The proposed budget, unveiled Tuesday, would also discontinue $5 million in annual funding for the Competitive Abstinence Education program, which provides grants to specific pro-abstinence programs. That funding was approved for two years in the fiscal year 2012 budget.

Despite signing both funding streams into law, Obama does not support abstinence-only education. The issue has been a budgeting tug-of-war since he took office, with the president’s effort to eliminate such spending hindered by Republicans in Congress.

[READ: Abstinence Lobby ‘Very Encouraged’ By Tim Scott Senate Appointment]

The block grant program – originally funded by the 1996 Welfare Reform Act – was eliminated in the fiscal year 2010 budget, passed when Democrats held a majority in the House of Representatives. But Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, successfully resurrected the grant program months later by attaching it to the health care law in committee.

Supporters of school-provided lessons that teach students how to reduce the risk of pregnancy and venereal disease if they have sex were glad to see the proposal.

“We are pleased that the budget eliminates funding for abstinence-only sex education, while continuing investments in comprehensive sex education programs that provide young people with accurate information to make responsible decisions about their health,” said Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards, in a statement. “We look forward to working with Congress to see these investments protected.”

But advocates of abstinence-only education doubt the funding cut will stick.

[FLASHBACK: Abstinence Education Debate Resurfaces]

“I’m very optimistic,” says Valerie Huber, president of the National Abstinence Education Association. “Every year the president sends his budget over to Congress he proposes the elimination of sexual risk avoidance programs. For six months in the last two terms he was successful and the rest of the time Congress chose to ignore that request.”

Huber says states generally don’t contribute much money toward sex education or pro-abstinence programs and rely on federal funding for those classes. She also says before Obama took office abstinence programs enjoyed bipartisan support.

“This is really an anomaly, for some reason he is so hostile to abstinence education that he is willing to ignore the parents on both sides of the aisle and the good decisions made by an increasing number of teens,” Huber says. “It’s curious and disheartening.”

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