Since 1996, the federal government has increased support for abstinence only education programs. As the federal requirements for abstinence only education programs became increasingly stringent, an increasing number of states have refuses to apply for abstinence-only funds (Title V Funding).
In this study, the researchers examined selected states that have rejected or accepted federal funding for abstinence-only programs in order to identify political, social and economic forces that influenced each state’s decision. The researchers also looked at the political climate in each state including the political affiliation of the governor, the leadership of state legislature, and coalitions among family planning advocates, educators, religious groups and political figures. Lastly, they also looked at the roles of abstinence-only program evaluation, the influence of state sexuality education standards and concerns about scientific accuracy. The researchers decided to examine California, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania as the states that rejected funding and Indiana and Texas as the states that accepted funding.
The researchers found that abstinence-only policies are influenced by a state’s political, social and economic environments. They found that in Indiana and Texas, the decision to accept funding was made without regarding public opinion. On the other hand, in California, there was a lot of conversations between reproductive health advocates and government officials prior to rejecting funds. States that accepted funding also had more conservative governors, lacked legislation regarding comprehensive sexual health education or medically accurate information. States that rejected funding had strong alliances between health advocates and state departments of health and tended to emphasize medically accurate sexuality education.