I’ve been reading lots of blogs with VERY negative comments about President Obama’s pick for Director of Faith-Based Initiatives, Alexia Kelley. She’s anti-choice, which apparently means it’s time to attack the President. I get the argument, like it or not, government money goes to Faith groups for many social initiatives including family planning education. If she’s anti-choice and Catholic, it’s easy to see how Kelley could funnel money to abstinence only programs. Even a few kids who don’t get taught about contraception is a problem, right?
Well, that’s something I’d agree with, but after an afternoon of pouring over 2008, 2009 and 2010 Health and Human Services budgets as well as the President’s 2010 Budget, I am pretty well convinced that she CAN’T just give money to Faith-Based, Anti-Choice “family planning” programs. Obama’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative very clearly limits funding to evidence-based programs that promote abstinence and delay the age of sexual activity but ensure that when people do start having sex, they will more frequently use contraception.
In fact the President’s 2010 Budget Request, grandly entitled “A New Era of Responsibility”, “Supports State, community-based and faith-based efforts to reduce teen pregnancy using evidence-based models. The program will fund models that stress the importance of abstinence while providing medically-accurate and age-appropriate information…” (Emphasis mine)
So basically what it comes down to is that the choice of family planning programs (apparently our federal government feels uncomfortable actually using the word sex… Ever…) is way above the head of Alexia Kelley. Not that I’d mind seeing as many pro-choice federal employees, especially in HHS. But let’s all calm down. Obama’s funding for comprehensive family planning programs essentially replaces Bush’s abstinence-only funding, so our government is really only funding programs now that have been proven to work. Obama’s not crazy or trying to keep today’s children in the dark. He’s just put someone with a religious perspective in charge of Faith-Based Initiatives. And really, can you blame him for that?
I do have a little issue with some abortion wording in Obama’s Teen Pregnancy Initiative, but let’s leave that for another post.