President’s Budget Supports Key Sexual Health Issues

On February 9, President Obama released his proposed budget for the 2017 Fiscal Year. Advocates for Youth appreciates the optimism and progress that the budget represents, maintaining funding for vital programs such as sex education and HIV prevention and care, and signaling the administration’s ongoing commitment to improving reproductive and sexual health for young people.  
We are especially pleased by the President’s decision to finally eradicate harmful abstinence-only-until-marriage (AOUM programs) by removing all current funding.

We were, however, disappointed at the missed opportunities to send a stronger message by removing the Hyde Amendment, increasing funding for programs that would strengthen and improve  HIV prevention and sex education, or restoring greater Title X funding. A summary of key reproductive and sexual health areas found in the budget are below.nn

Sex Education
The President’s budget proposes a $4 million increase for Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs (TPPP), including allocations for program evaluation; a five-year continuation of the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP); and level funding for the Department of Adolescent and School Health (DASH). Each of these programs is essential in providing young people with resources and tools needed to make healthy decisions about their sexual health. While we applaud an increase for TPPP, the teen pregnancy prevention program that provides funding for evidence-based interventions, we are disappointed that the president did not increase funds for DASH, as even current funding is not enough for states and local school districts to fully implement sex education programs that are LGBT-inclusive and serves a broader range of young people.

Notably, the President’s budget removes funding for harmful abstinence-only-until-marriage (AOUM) programs by eliminating the $10 million competitive grant program and including a legislative proposal to eliminate Title V AOUM funding.

Family Planning
The Budget includes a $13.5 million increase to Title X family planning in the U.S., which is an important step in the right direction, but still would not fully restore cuts that the program has suffered in recent years. Changes to Medicaid also have potential for positive impact, including the elimination of states’ discretion to provide limited-scope pregnancy and postpartum care. International family planning efforts are also supported, with an increase to USAID’s Global Health Programs Account and level funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA.

Funding for HIV and AIDS programs through the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention (DHAP) remains flat in the proposed budget, though some money is reallocated through the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program. Global AIDS efforts also received flat funding to programs including President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief  (PEPFAR), The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund), and United States Agency for International Development (HIV-USAID).

Abortion Care
Advocates for Youth was deeply disappointed to find the Hyde Amendment still included in the President’s FY17 budget. The Hyde Amendment restricts federal insurance coverage of abortion care in most cases, severely impacting access to care for people who use Medicaid health care or for federal employees. However, we were heartened to see that the President did show support for safe and accessible abortion care by lifting the restrictions on abortion funding in Washington, D.C.

The President’s budget does not set final funding for the year, as it must still be amended and approved by Congress. Nonetheless, the proposed budget is an important tool for setting the framework and expectations of these negotiations. It also signals the ongoing commitment of the President to securing critical programs including sex education; HIV & AIDS treatment, care, and prevention; and family planning services worldwide. With the last budget of this Administration, we thank and congratulate President Obama for his leadership and advocacy, and we look forward to working to maintain positive trends in the coming years.