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SIECUS Applauds New Mexico’s Refusal of Title V Funding

New York, NY – New Mexico’s Health Secretary, Alfredo Vigil, announced that his state will reject Title V federal funding for abstinence-only programs for the coming fiscal year.  New Mexico joins 14 other states in rejecting the restrictive, abstinence-only-until-marriage funds.

“We are grateful to Governor Richardson, Secretary Vigil, and his predecessor, Secretary Michelle Lujan Grisham, who is currently a candidate for Congress in New Mexico’s First District, for their commitment to fighting against the Bush administration’s failed abstinence-only policies,” said William Smith, vice president for public policy at the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS).  “New Mexico is now the 15th state to forgo this wasteful and overly restrictive federal money in the coming year.  It is part of a sweeping trend of states making the responsible choice about sexuality education.”

This year, 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.

“Title V has provided funding for fear-based, medically inaccurate programs across the country.  Refusing Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage money sends a strong message that we demand more and better 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 2007 alone.  These programs are prohibited from discussing contraceptives except in the context of failure rates and have never been proven effective.  Title V abstinence-only funding is set to expire at the end of this year, but Congress is set to extend the program for 6 months despite a total lack of credible evidence that abstinence-only-until-marriage programs can change sexual behavior. 

“Now that 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 boondoggle 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 (202) 492-6172 or