While The Washington Post—and most other major papers—were writing stories about the to and fro comments, slanders, strategizing and complaining of the politicians considering healthcare, it missed something.
Whenever a newspaper uses the term “little noticed” in a story after a piece of legislation was passed, it’s a tacit admission that it didn’t do a very good job of informing its readers.
A little-noticed provision of the health legislation has rescued federal support for a controversial form of sex education: teaching youths to remain virgins until marriage.
The legislation restores $250 million over five years for states to sponsor programs aimed at preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases by focusing exclusively on encouraging children and adolescents to avoid sex. The funding provides at least a partial reprieve for the approach, which faced losing all federal support under President Obama’s first two budgets.
Not everyone is thrilled.
"To spend a quarter-billion dollars on abstinence-only-until-marriage programs that have already been proven to fail is reckless and irresponsible," said James Wagoner of Advocates for Youth, a Washington group. "When on top of that you add the fact that this puts the health and lives of young people at risk, this becomes outrageous."
During President George W. Bush’s administration, abstinence programs received more than $100 million a year directly in federal funding and about $50 million each year in federal money funneled through the states. But the effort came under mounting criticism when independent evaluations concluded that the approach was ineffective and evidence began to emerge that the long decline in teen pregnancies was reversing.
This should be embarrassing—for The Post.