HRC Blog

Republican-Led House Puts Ideology Over Science

Post submitted by Brian Moulton, Former HRC Legal Director

Yesterday, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) introduced legislation to fund the federal government through September 2012, the end of the current fiscal year.  The current short-term spending measure funding the government expires at the end of this week.  Unfortunately, if not unexpectedly, House Republicans have returned to putting narrow ideology over proven science in public health programs. 

The measure provides $5 million for abstinence-only sex education programs, which have been discredited by a wide body of evidence, including a Congressionally-mandated study in 2007 which found these programs ineffective in stopping or delaying teen sex, reducing the number of reported sexual partners, reducing sexually transmitted infections, or otherwise beneficially impacting young people’s sexual behavior.  While these programs fail to prepare all young people to live safe and healthy lives, they are particularly harmful to our community because they exclude, if not openly denigrate, LGBT youth and their relationships.  Congress has already spent over $1.5 billion on abstinence-only education, and it is deeply disappointing –particularly as important programs see significant cuts— that the House continues to waste American taxpayer dollars on ineffective programs that do not serve our nation’s young people.      

House Republicans also ignored scientific evidence by reinstating a ban – finally repealed after decades in 2009 – on the use of federal funds for syringe-exchange programs, a proven method for reducing the transmission of HIV and other blood-borne pathogens among injection drug users.  Ample evidence demonstrates that these programs prevent new infections without increasing illicit drug use, and they operate successfully in 33 states and the District of Columbia.

HRC has lobbied for years against both of these provisions and is deeply disappointed by their inclusion in this funding measure.

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