160px-Dave_Obey%2C_official_Congressional_photo_portrait.jpgWhen you think of abstinence-only education, who comes to mind? James Dobson? Tom DeLay? George W. Bush?

Guess again. The biggest cheerleader and enabler of abstinence-only education in the country today happens to be Dave Obey (D-WI), head of the powerful House Appropriations Committee. That’s right — thanks to Obey, the religious right still has our public schools by the balls.

Progressives and health care advocates had hoped that when the Democrats took control of the House, one of the first things to get scrapped would be the disastrous abstinence-only education [sic] programs, which blossomed under the Bush administration and the Republican-controlled Congress. Their hopes were misplaced. Obey actually increased the funding to the programs, and Nancy Pelosi did nothing to stop him.

How can this be?

Abstinence-only has been denounced by the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Public Health Association. No studies have ever shown it works, and it’s inherently anti-gay. And Henry Waxman’s 2004 study exposed fundie talking points embedded in the programs

The proof is in the pudding. Teen pregnancy is up. STDs among teens are up. Experts are alarmed.

Coming on the heels of reports that one in four teen-age girls has a sexually transmitted disease and that the teen birth rate has increased for the first time in 15 years, the data is triggering alarm across the ideological spectrum.

"We have a number of signs that are all going exactly in the wrong direction," said Sarah S. Brown, of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. "All of us in this field are on red alert."

There is simply no good reason for Dave Obey, enabled by Pelosi in the House and Harry Reid in the Senate, to continue to fund this garbage.

Obey’s email contact page is here. Other contact info here. Send this post to everyone you know in Wisconsin and tell him to knock it off.

More background

You can help the good people at Advocates for Youth, the group that brought this atrocity to FDL’s attention, here.

Another fine organization helping push back against abstinence-only is SIECUS.

The ACLU issued a press release about this yesterday.