A new Trump administration rule, now under review at the White House budget office, would bar organizations that mention abortion, refer patients elsewhere for abortions, or provide abortions under their roofs from receiving Title X funding. Title X is a federal program that provides at least $260 million a year for contraception, screenings for sexually transmitted diseases and other reproductive health services to millions of low-income people. 

The rule, known by abortion rights advocates as a “gag rule,” is aimed at Planned Parenthood, which congressional Republicans are determined to defund, despite that no federal funds are used to pay for abortions, and many Planned Parenthood clinics offer only birth control, STD treatment, and other reproductive health care, such as cervical and breast cancer screening.

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Conservatives are sending abstinence-only curriculum into classrooms at increasing rates, and a new study shows these programs are not only ineffective but unethical. Congress and the Trump administration are working to reverse the trends of more comprehensive sexual education, which had begun to improve during the Obama administration.

WHAT THE STUDY SHOWS

A report published in September’s Journal of Adolescent Health (JAH) finds that sexual education programs promoting “abstinence only until marriage” (AOUM) fail on numerous levels based on scientific data. Researchers evaluated previous scientific research, reviewed articles on the subject, and data from human rights groups to reach their conclusions. This wealth of evidence starkly contrasts with the small number of studies that support abstinence-based education programs—long endorsed by conservative groups.

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