Cabinet Is Told To Press Family Issues

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Washington--President Reagan has ordered his Cabinet to push measures ensuring that federally aided sex-education programs for teenagers stress abstinence.

Mr. Reagan also directed that steps be taken to prevent school clinics from dispensing contraceptives to students without parental permission. Those and a number of other related directives issued this month were spurred by a report on family issues education. The sex-education directive instructs Otis R. Bowen, secretary of health and human services, to ensure that "all human sexuality and family-planning educational and informational materials developed for teens by federal agencies and, to the extent encouraging abstinence." In addition, Mr. Reagan:

  • Instructed the Secretary of Education to help plan a White House workshop on parental choice in education, highlighting "the advantages of choice for education reform" and recognizing people who have contributed to the choice movement.
  • Called for a Treasury Department study of ways to assist families with children through changes in the tax code. The directive suggested an increase in the personal exemption for dependents and an ex8pansion of targeted tax credits.
  • Asked the Attorney General to propose legislation requiring that all bills reported by Congressional committees include a "Family Impact Statement." A 1987 executive order required such statements to accompany proposed regulations.
  • Called on several Cabinet members to collaborate on a policy requiring recipients of federal funds to "create a drug-free environment." Anti-drug legislation being debated in the House includes such a provision.
  • Asked the Justice Department's drug-policy board to "develop programs that promote family participation in the prevention, intervention, and treatment of illegal drug use by children."

Mr. Bauer acknowledged that it was late in the Administration to initiate legislative proposals, or even to implement regulatory actions. But he said it might be possible to issue some new regulations, and noted that initiatives set in motion now could influence future decisionmaking.--jm

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