NAEA - National Abstinence Education Association


July 7, 2011

Shocking Policy:
Abstinence programs, an “ Unallowable Activity” in new federal grant funding

One of the eight “specified Healthy Marriage Promotion activities” authorized for a new grant is “education in high schools on the value of marriage, relationship skills, and budgeting” but shockingly, one of the “unallowable activities” is teaching abstinence![1]  Applicants are required to include a written statement that demonstrates their “commitment” to not teach an Abstinence Education program as a part of this grant.

“Preventing youth from receiving sexual abstinence skills is very troubling and completely ignores the body of research that now links teen sex to future divorce in marriage,” stated Valerie Huber, Executive Director of the National Abstinence Education Association (NAEA).  A new study found that females who had sex in their teens had nearly double the risk of divorce later in life compared to their peers who waited for sex.[2]

“The unexplained hostility to risk avoidance abstinence programs defies the evidence-based framework that the Obama Administration purports to support,” Huber added.  “With the numerous sex scandals continually played out in the media, it is disturbing that programs encouraging self-restraint and self-respect are viewed as the enemy of the 'healthy marriages' these programs are designed to achieve.”

New funding to promote Healthy Marriages and Relationships was recently announced by the Department of Health and Human Services. In 2010, President Obama signed into law the Claims Resolution Act of 2010 resulting in $75 million dollars being directed toward a competitive grant opportunity with the purpose of promoting the components of a healthy relationship and the benefits of marriage.

The entire Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) can be accessed here.

[1] See pages 31,35 of Federal funding announcement.
[2] Anthony Paik, “Adolescent Sexuality and Risk of Marital Dissolution,” Journal of Marriage and Family  73 (2011): 472-485, p. 483, 484.