WASHINGTON (AP) -- Members of the House have voted to end some long-standing restrictions on needle exchanges for drug users and on sex education.
The needle ban, first enacted during the Reagan administration, was defeated by a vote of 218 to 211.
It was opposed by Indiana Republican Mark Souder, who argued that HIV is spread chiefly through sex, not drug use. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the evidence is clear that swapping dirty needles for clean ones does reduce infections and does not increase use of illegal drugs.
The action came as the House approved a $730-billion spending bill, that also drops federal funding for abstinence-only sex education. Such programs have been denounced as ineffective.
Instead, the bill includes $114 million for a teenage pregnancy prevention initiative.
The Associated Press