175385 Saying No to Abstinence-Only Funds: An Analysis of State Decisions

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 1:10 PM

Deborah R. McFarlane, DrPH, MPA , Political Science, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
Alesha E. Doan, PhD , Department of Political Science, Kansas University, Lawrence, KS
Sunny Bergh, BA , Political Science, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
Much of the current proliferation and political success of abstinence programs can be credited to a measure included in the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), commonly known as “welfare reform.” Abstinence-only education was nested within this high profile welfare reform bill, suggesting that was part of a larger plan to combat poverty. Under this program $50 million was allotted to the states per year. The amount of money available to each state is based on the state's proportion of low income children relative to the national total. These abstinence funds are awarded largely as block grants to the states, and the states must match every $4 of federal money with $3 of state funds.

When the program began, only 1 state (California) refused to participate but over time, many more states have declined this lucrative source of funding. This study explores why states have taken the unusual step of turning down federal funds. In doing so, we examine a number of political, economic, and social factors that may influence a state's refusal to participate. Using case studies and multivariate analysis, we investigate these relationships and discuss their implications for public health policy.

Learning Objectives:
1.Describe the structure of federal funding for abstinence-only education in the United States. 2. Discuss the significance of the welfare reform abstinence funding relative to other public sources of abstinence funding. 3. Discuss the timing of state decisions to reject Title V abstinence education funding. 4. Identify factors that have led states to reject Title V funding.

Keywords: Adolescents, Advocacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I wrote the abstract, designed the study, and designed the data base.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.