Washington state is one of the numerous states that will no longer receive federal funds for abstinence-only education programs. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that the state’s legislature passed a measure in last spring that rendered comprehensive sex education mandatory in Washington schools. A separate state law requires that Washington apply for the abstinence-only education program grant, but the federal government will no longer provide the $800,000 it had in the past because of the comprehensive sex education law.
The Washington state legislature’s rejection of failed abstinence only education programs reflects the growing movement of states towards more effective comprehensive sex education programs. In 2006, only four states turned down federal abstinence only education funds, but in December, New Mexico became the 15th state to do so.
This sharp increase 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.