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NM Joins Growing List of States Saying No to Programs Proven to Fail

Washington, DC – Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) President Cecile Richards praised New Mexico health officials today for rejecting federal funding for ineffective abstinence-only programs that deny teenagers potentially lifesaving information about prevention and responsible decision making.  New Mexico, the 15th state to reject the funding, has pledged to teach comprehensive, medically accurate sex education.

“In the last decade, more than $1.5 billion has been wasted on abstinence-only programs that do nothing to teach our teens responsibility.  An estimated 750,000 teenagers will get pregnant this year and approximately four million will contract a sexually transmitted infection, and the CDC just reported that teen birthrates are on the rise,” said Richards.  “Planned Parenthood applauds New Mexico officials for joining 14 other states and sending a message to Washington, DC, to stop funding programs that don’t work.”

The message is being heard loud and clear on Capitol Hill.  Today, Congress denied President Bush’s request for increased funding for the Community Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) program. 

“As the mother of two teenagers, I want my kids to be taught about abstinence, but I also know that that’s not enough,” said Richards.  “As parents, we ask our teens to be responsible, and in order for that to happen they must be given accurate information to make responsible decisions about their sexual health.”

Last month Virginia became the 14th state to reject federal funds for abstinence-only programs, joining states from Montana to Massachusetts.  In rejecting his state’s federal dollars, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland said, “Quite frankly, I don’t believe abstinence-only education programs work in the long run.”  The administration of New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine cautioned that “accepting federal abstinence-only dollars may, in fact, cost the state money because students may require additional sexuality education to clarify the partial and misinformation that is taught in abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.”

Several recent studies have found abstinence-only programs to be ineffective.  A nine-year, large-scale federally funded evaluation of the Title V program found no measurable impact on increasing abstinence or delaying sexual initiation among participating youth.  Instead, it found that these programs actually decreased adolescents’ confidence regarding the ability of condoms to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.  Last month, the nonpartisan National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy also found that abstinence-only programs have no real impact on teen sexual behavior.  In addition, a 2004 congressional report found more than two-thirds of these programs distort information and mislead young people by giving them false information about contraception.



Planned Parenthood Federation of America


Diane Quest (202) 973-4851


May 13, 2014