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Arizona Becomes 16th State to Refuse Title V Abstinence-Only-Until Marriage Funding

New York, NY – On Friday, Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano announced plans for the state to refuse federal Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage funding because of the program’s overly restrictive nature.  Under the current rules, states receiving Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage funds cannot spend the money on comprehensive sexuality education or any other programs that discuss topics outside of a pure, abstinence-only message.

“We are very grateful to Governor Napolitano for standing up and refusing to support these failed abstinence-only-until-marriage programs,” said William Smith, vice president for public policy at the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS).  “Arizona is the 16th state to forgo this wasteful and overly restrictive federal money in the coming year.”

In 2007, several studies, including one commissioned by the federal government and released in April by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., found no evidence that abstinence-only programs increased rates of sexual abstinence when students were compared to their peers who did not attend the programs. In fact, students in abstinence-only-until-marriage programs had a similar number of sexual partners as their peers not in the programs, as well as a similar age of first sex.

“Arizona joins New Mexico, which announced a similar decision to refuse funding in December.  It is part of a sweeping trend of states, not just across the Southwest, but across the nation, making the responsible choice about sexuality education,” continued Smith. 

Since 1982, the U.S. government has spent over $1.5 billion on unproven abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.  Of that money, over $800 million has been spent during the current administration.  Under the leadership of President Bush, there has been a continued expansion of investment in these programs with more than $175 million allocated in Fiscal Year 2008 alone.  These programs are prohibited from discussing contraceptives except in the context of failure rates and have never been proven effective.   

“Now that more than thirty percent of states have announced their intentions to abandon this failed program, you would think Congress would wake up and start funding something that worked.  Congress should act now by stopping all funding for Bush’s billion dollar fiasco and pass the Responsible Education About Life (REAL) Act, which would fund programs that actually help young people abstain and protect themselves when they do have sex,” concluded Smith.

For more information contact Patrick Malone at (212)819-9770 ext. 316 or