- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Senate has approved funding for sex education that includes the “comprehensive” approach favored by the Obama administration and the “risk-avoidance” one favored by traditional-values supporters.

However, risk-avoidance education — formerly known as abstinence education — is set to get an extra $25 million a year.

Both funding streams were included in the massive Medicare overhaul bill, also known as H.R. 2 or the “doc fix” bill.

The Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), which is favored by the Obama administration and its allies, saw its $75 million-a-year funding renewed for two years.

Congress decided to boost funding for the Title V Abstinence Education grant program from $50 million-a-year to $75 million-a-year, also for two years, to match the PREP allocation.

The Senate bill, which is already approved in the House, is expected to be signed by President Obama.

SEE ALSO: Teens report high exposure to sex education

The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) praised Congress for its investment in PREP, saying it will ensure that “medically accurate and evidence-based” sex education will be given to teens and young people.

SIECUS said it was “incredibly disappointed” over the extra funding for Title V — the first in the program’s 18-year history — since “abstinence-only-until-marriage” programs damage young people, especially those who are sexually active or in same-sex relationships.

Valerie Huber, president of the National Abstinence Education Association (NAEA), praised the passage of H.R. 2 and its increased funding and flexibility for Title V.

She also applauded a bill introduced Tuesday by Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, and five co-sponsors, that would allocate funds for “healthy relationships” education.

The Senate bill would fund programs that teach youth to make healthy decisions as they “navigate an increasingly sex-saturated culture,” the NAEA said.

Mr. Graham’s bill is similar to one introduced in January by Rep. Randy Hultgren, Illinois Republican, and 24 co-sponsors. That bill, H.R. 453, calls for $110 million-a-year in health care funding to teach youth about healthy relationships, and “success sequencing” — finishing school and getting a job before marrying and then having children.

SEE ALSO: WETZSTEIN: Sex education goes full circle

Conservative and liberal social scientists have agreed that young couples who hit those milestones — in that order — are likely to avoid living in poverty.

• Cheryl Wetzstein can be reached at cwetzstein@washingtontimes.com.

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