New Mexico joined 14 other states in rejecting federal Title V matching funds for abstinence only education programs on Wednesday. State Health Secretary Dr. Alfredo Vigil says the New Mexico Health Department will now support programs that give scientific, balanced and complete information to young people, reports the Associated Press.
New Mexico’s rejection is the latest in a surge of states rejecting abstinence only funds. It follows reports released this year that highlighted the ineffectiveness of abstinence only education programs in delaying or preventing teen sexual activity or pregnancy. In 2005-2006, the teen birth rate rose for the first time since 1991, according to a report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“(New Mexico) is part of a sweeping trend of states making the responsible choice about sexuality education…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,” said William Smith, vice president for public policy at the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) in a press release.