Friday, October 19, 2007

Failing on Sex Education

Today's Baltimore Sun has an article about House Appropriations Committee Chair David R. Obey's decision to push for increased funding of abstinence-only education in public schools:

President Bush, in his budget request, asked for a $28 million increase in community-based grants, which Obey has obliged.
What's the problem here? Obey is the Democratic Representative from Wisconsin. What are the Democrats thinking? Obey claims to be taking this strategy because he thinks that he "can pick up Republican support for much bigger health and social welfare programs that the White House wants to cut." If history is any indicator, Republicans are very unlikely to make such a compromise -- it's more likely that they will take this win from Obey and give Democrats nothing in return. Not only does it help them pass legislation that they support, but it makes the Democratically-led Congress look ineffective when Republicans block the health and social welfare programs that Democrats support. This is a terrible strategy.

Not only that, though, but why are Democrats even considering to endorse legislation that runs counter to the current science on sex education? Aren't we trying to fight the anti-intellectualism of the Right? We have complained for nearly 7 years that the Bush administration puts ideology ahead of science. What is Obey thinking?

At least Henry Waxman, Democratic Representative from California, gets it:
I've made clear to my colleagues that I don't believe abstinence-only is an effective approach, or that it makes sense to increase funding. I haven't been able to prevail on the issue of appropriations but plan to continue to fight for better programs for youth.
Keep up the good fight Mr. Waxman!

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