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New York State Declines Federal Funds for Abstinence Education Program

by Medindia Content Team on September 24, 2007 at 6:33 PM
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New York State Declines Federal Funds for Abstinence Education Program

New York state has rejected about $3.5 million in funding from the federal Title V abstinence education program, state health commissioner Richard Daines announced in a statement Thursday, the New York Times reports.

According to Daines, $2.6 million that the state provided for the same abstinence program will be spent on other sex education programs.

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Title V distributes money based on a formula favoring states with more low-income children. To receive Title V funds, states must adhere to certain requirements, including barring teachers from discussing contraception and requiring them to say that sex within marriage is "the expected standard of sexual activity."

Many state governors have said the grants place too many restrictions on the curricula (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 7/18). According to the Times, at least 11 states have decided to decline Title V funding in recent years.
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"The Bush administration's abstinence-only program is an example of a failed national health care policy directive," Daines said, adding that the policy is "based on ideology rather than on sound scientific-based evidence that must be the cornerstone of good public health care policy."

According to Daines, the state made the decision based on evidence that the abstinence-only program did little to prevent teen pregnancies. He added that he also objected to the program's "narrow ideological view, which is not the direction [New York] want[s] to go in for sexual health."

The state should encourage the teaching of condom use and include discussions of abstinence, Daines said. Sex education is not mandated by the state, and individual districts are allowed to adopt their own programs, the Times reports.

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation
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