WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Critics of the Bush administration's abstinence-only sex education program say the recent rise in the U.S. teen pregnancy rate shows the program is failing.
New Mexico recently became the 15th U.S. state to reject federal funds for abstinence-only sex education amid the rise in the teen pregnancy rate -- the nation's first in 15 years, CBS News reported Monday.
"The governors are saying, 'Even if this administration is going to continue to push abstinence-only, we in the states are going to do the right thing by teens and actually give them the information they need to actually prevent an unintended pregnancy,'" said Cecile Richards, the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
CBS said rejecting the abstinence-only funds is largely a symbolic gesture by governors -- the federal money goes to outside groups that promote abstinence, not the schools themselves -- who believe contraception needs to be included in sexual education.
Proponents of abstinence-only programs criticized the governors for rejecting the money.
"I think they're the victims of a huge lobbying effort on behalf of the contraception education proponents, who truly do not want abstinence education to exist," said Elayne Bennett, of the Best Friends Foundation.