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Abstinence-Only Sex Education Funding Due to Expire

Breaking News

Title V Abstinence Only Funding Sex Education is set to expire on June 30, 2007.

Title V is a federally funded program funded under the 1996 federal welfare reform law (Section 510(b) of Title V of the Social Security Act). Title V has been allocated $50 million each year for states to teach abstinence-only programs.

Abstinence only sex education programs prohibit discussion on contraception, including condoms, except for failure rates.

What does this mean?

States that accept Title V funds must contribute three state dollars for every four federal dollars which brings the total amount spent on abstinence only programs to $87.5 million annually. Without federal matching dollars, States would have to foot the whole bill on their own. Although many states do accept Title V funding, eight states have rejected such funding: California, Connecticut, Ohio, Maine, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Montana, and Wisconsin. The Title V program is currently set to expire on June 30, 2007.

So what does this mean for Latinas?

Latinas have the highest incidence of unintended pregnancy, many times, economic barriers and lack of health insurance, limit access to birth control pills, condoms and emergency contraception.

Latinas also have to confront barriers such as lack of access to information. Many states that have abstinence only until marriage sex and sexuality education funding are also states with high density populations of Latinos. Therefore, they are not getting the information they need to make safe and healthy decisions about their reproductive and sexual health.

Yet, even in states that do have comprehensive sex and sexuality education, these programs often lack the linguistic and cultural competence needed for Latinas to fully engage and learn from such programs.

What can you do?

Let your legislator know that this program should not be re-authorized and that no more money should be put into abstinence only until marriage programs.

Let your legislators know that if they care about their constituents, if they care about the future of our nation, they will give youths and voters the tools they need to make healthy decisions about their lives by funding comprehensive sex and sexuality programs.