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SIECUS Releases Special Report on Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Programs in Kentucky

For Immediate Release
Contact: Patrick Malone
(212)819-9770 ext. 316

Millions of Dollars to Failed Programs and Crisis Pregnancy Centers

New York, NY – Today, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) released a special report on abstinence-only-until-marriage programs in Kentucky.  The report, which compiles data on the major federal funding sources of abstinence-only-until-marriage programs as well as vital health statistics and outcomes in the state, paints a picture of a state that uses some of the worst, fear-based abstinence-only-until-marriage curricula and lags behind national averages on many important adolescent indicators related to teen pregnancy and STD’s.

Kentucky received $3,070,315 in abstinence-only-until-marriage funding in Fiscal Year 2007, including Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage funding.  The Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage program in Kentucky disbursed $817,297 in funding to 16 local health departments, a majority of which use fear- and shame- based curricula, and crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs).  

“The amount of money that is flowing into Kentucky is staggering,” said SIECUS Vice President for Public Policy, William Smith, “especially when you look at the programs it is going to that are based on fear, shame, gender stereotypes, and misinformation, as well as CPCs, which are very thinly veiled religious organizations.  It is clear that these funds are not about  improving the health of young people in Kentucky but rather in supporting a certain ideological enterprise at the taxpayer’s expense.”

In 2007, among those high school students who reported being currently sexually active, 53 percent of females and 67 percent of males in Kentucky reported having used condoms the last time they had sexual intercourse compared to 55 percent of females and 69 percent of males nationwide. While this number is near the national average, Kentucky lags in other areas—the teen birth rate nationwide is 41.1 per 1,000 young women ages 15–19 while in Kentucky the rate is 49.2 per 1,000 young women ages 15–19, a full 19 percent higher than the national average.  

The situation in Kentucky is not improving: in a single year between 2005 and 2006, the teen birth rate rose 6.6 percent while the nationwide teen birth rate rose 3 percent in the same year.  And, while the overall prevalence of HIV is low compared to other states, it is important to note where new infections are occurring.  African Americans make up only seven percent of the total Kentucky population but nearly 34 percent of new HIV cases in the state.

“Numbers don’t lie,” continued Smith.  “It is time for Kentucky to join many other states in refusing this failed experiment of abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.  As long as funds are going to these programs that place ideology over what the evidence says works, young people and other underserved groups in Kentucky are going to continue to suffer.” 

To see a full copy of the Kentucky Report, click here.  For other information or with any questions, contact Patrick Malone at 


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