Not only would President Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 budget harm women and families by barring Planned Parenthood from receiving any federal government funding, it would also invest $277 million in abstinence-only education, which has been shown to be a completely ineffective means of sexual education.
As Quartz reports, the proposed budget calls for investing $277 million to “extend abstinence education and personal responsibility education program” between 2018 and 2027. The investment certainly falls in line with Vice-President Mike Pence’s love of abstinence-only programs (and subsequent lack of knowledge about how condoms actually work). But it also completely disregards research showing that abstinence-only programs don’t work.
A 2011 study found that an “increasing emphasis on abstinence education is positively correlated with teenage pregnancy and birth rates.” Additionally, the states with the highest teen pregnancy rates — Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Mississippi — have policies that emphasize abstinence-only sexual education. The Guttmacher Institute also found that “no program of any kind has ever shown success in convincing young people to postpone sex from age 17, when they typically first have intercourse, until marriage,” and that teens who claim to practice abstinence often still have oral sex, which can put them at risk of STDs even if they aren’t having intercourse.
At this time, Trump’s budget is still just a proposal — it needs to be approved by Congress in order to actually be implemented. Congress is reportedly “already wary” of the proposed budget, but according to Axios, even if lawmakers dismantle a significant portion of it, they’ll likely still try to stick with the administration’s goals.