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SIECUS Applauds Iowa’s Refusal of Title V Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Funding

New York, NY – Today, Iowa became the 17th state to withdraw from the federal abstinence-only-until-marriage block grant program to the states through Title V funding. 

“Iowa’s decision to stop accepting overly restrictive money from the federal government shows a commitment to helping its young people make the best decisions about their lives and their health,” said William Smith, vice president of public policy at the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS).  “Title V abstinence-only-until marriage funds have been providing biased, inaccurate information for too long, in Iowa and across the country.  Refusing these funds is what public health demands and what the American people want,” continued Smith.

In Fiscal Year 2007, Iowa received $1,518,918 in federal funding for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.  Nearly $320,000 of that money was from Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage funds.  There are eight Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage sub-grantees in the state of Iowa.  These are Allen Memorial Hospital (Women’s Health Center); Bethany Christian Services of Northwest Iowa; Community Opportunities, Inc. doing business as New Opportunities, Inc.; The Crittendon Center; North Iowa Community Action Organization; University of Iowa; Webster County Department of Health; and the Young Parents Network.   

Currently there is no federal funding stream dedicated to comprehensive sexuality education programs.  Since 1982, however, 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 growth in spending for these programs with more than $175 million allocated in Fiscal Year 2007 alone.  These programs are prohibited from discussing contraceptives except in the context of failure rates and have never been proven effective in promoting long-term benefits for young people.

“We are seeing a tidal wave of states across the country deciding that they cannot support  these failed programs.  We are very grateful that Governor Culver has joined them and made the commitment to the health and future of Iowa’s young people,” concluded Smith. “Now the United States Congress must act to change the law and allow states to use taxpayer dollars as they see fit and not according to the dictates of America’s most divisive and extreme right wing organizations who continue to be the only organizations lobbying on behalf of these failed programs.” 

The authorizations for the current law expires at the end of June 2008. In 2007, the United States House of Representatives passed legislation that would have allowed Iowa and other non-participating states to use the funding for more comprehensive programs. The United States Senate failed to act on the provision.
For more information contact Patrick Malone at (212)819-9770 ext. 316 or