The NAEA has been walking the halls of Congress this year, pushing members of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education to keep the funding used to teach abstinence education to about 2 million students.
We communicate with members of both sides of the aisle. This didnt start out as a Republican or Democratic issue, NAEA Executive Director Valerie Huber said. We have teen birth rates at epidemic proportions; Why on earth would we want to take anything out of the toolbox that can help them make healthy choices?
The NAEA, which was formed in 2007, has been working alongside BGR Group and C2 Group to get lawmakers to add the funds.
The money is distributed in a competitive grant process through the Department of Health and Human Services.
Huber says the department has noted how highly competitive the grants are, with only about 10 percent of those that apply ever getting funded.
Even if the group doesnt see the money reinstated at todays markup, it says abstinence advocates wont go away.
Huber says theyll work to get it funded at the full-committee level or even on the Senate floor.
Were not going to give up on the youth, she said.
Following the speeches from elected officials, the crowd stands at long tables as they dig into BBQ, brunswick stew, cadillac rice at the Law Enforcement Cookout at Wayne Dasher's pond house in Glennville, Ga., on Thursday, April 17, 2014.