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Arizona Seeks Abstinence Only Funding

The Arizona Department of Health Services announced Friday that they will apply for a $1 million federal abstinence only grant. According to a Department of Health Services press release, the funds would be used for programs that emphasize abstinence and are aimed at 12-18 year olds. A spokesman for Arizona Governor Jan Brewer told The Arizona Republic that the Governor “believes in abstinence education [and] believes these are very effective programs. . . . with over a million dollars available, she felt this was a good opportunity.”

Last year, then-Governor Janet Napolitano rejected $1 million in Title V federal funds for abstinence only education programs. At the time, Napolitano said “While we all support ‘abstinence only’ and don’t believe in particular teenagers ought to be engaging in sexual relations of that sort, the fact of the matter is, some do….They need to have complete information for their own health, for their own bodies,” according to the East Valley Tribune.

Arizona has received federal abstinence only Title V funds through fiscal year 2008. Napolitano’s move last year eliminated the funds from the fiscal year 2009 budget. State laws require schools to teach abstinence, but also allow for programs that include information about condoms and contraception. According to a recent report from SIECUS, 35% of female and 33% of male high school students were sexually active in 2007.

Sources:

Feminist Daily Newswire 1/30/08; East Valley Tribune 4/18/09; Arizona Department of Health Services Press Release 4/17/09; SIECUS Report Arizona State Profile

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