Iowa 17th State to Refuse Federal Ab-Only Funds

Lynda Waddington

Iowa has become the seventeenth state to refuse Title V, Section 510 funding for abstinence-only sex education. Iowa currently receives roughly $319,000 in matching funds from the federal funding stream.

Iowa has become the 17th state to refuse Title V, Section 510 funding for abstinence-only sex education.

Courtney Greene, press secretary for Gov. Chet Culver, said the decision has been made and federal monies will continue to be refused unless changes are made to the program. Iowa currently receives roughly $319,000 in matching funds from the federal funding stream.

FutureNet, an Iowa network for adolescent pregnancy prevention, parenting and sexual health, held a policy briefing Thursday morning that took aim at the abstinence-only funding. Last Friday, Rhonda Chittenden, executive director of the organization, applauded Culver's decision to dismiss the funds.

The funding received by Iowa is administered by the Iowa Department of Public Health. Title V abstinence-only funds required states to provide three dollars (or the equivalent in services) for every four federal dollars received. In addition to disseminating the funds to regional groups, the IDPH also conducted a statewide campaign dubbed "I am" or Iowa's Abstinence Mission. At least one of the program's outreach efforts — a billboard featuring a pregnant woman without a wedding ring and the words "Wait for the bling" — drew the ire of both feminist and comprehensive sex education advocates.

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IDPH has provided Title V funds to eight Iowa organizations. The awards for fiscal year 2006 are as follows:

  • Allen Memorial Hospital (Women's Health Department), $31,149
  • Bethany Christian Services of Northwest Iowa, $48,114
  • Community Opportunities, Inc. (doing business as New Opportunities, Inc.), $15,052
  • The Crittenton Center, $10,214
  • North Iowa Community Action Organization, $25,491
  • University of Iowa, $45,000
  • Webster County Health Department, $14,525
  • Young Parents Network, $23,371

In addition to the Title V abstinence-only funds, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States reports that two Iowa organizations receive Community-Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) non-matching grants. Bethany Christian Services was announced as a recipient of a $600,000 grant last fall. Sexual Health Education, Inc. (doing business as Equipping Youth) also has received a $600,000 grant. Since this federal funding stream is not administered by the state, today's decision by Culver will not impact these two programs.

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