U.S. House of Representatives Proposes Cuts to Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs: A Statement from The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
Feb 14 2011
On February 11, 2011, the Appropriations Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives released details of the proposed Continuing Resolution (CR) for fiscal year 2011. The CR would fund the government through the end of September of this year. The CR proposes to severely cut or completely eliminate funding for several programs that help prevent teen and unplanned pregnancy, including:
- Complete elimination of the Evidence-Based Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative at the Office of Adolescent Health ($110 million in FY 2010),
- Complete elimination of the Title X Family Planning Program ($317.5 million in FY 2010),
- Significant reduction in funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (reduce by $850 million from FY 2010), and
- Significant reductions in funding for the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant (reduce by $50 million from FY 2010) and Community Health Centers (reduce by $1 billion from FY 2010).
In response to this news, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy's CEO, Sarah Brown, released the following statement:
"The proposed cuts in efforts to prevent teen and unplanned pregnancy for the current year are fiscally irresponsible, short-sighted, at odds with the wishes of the American public, and put at risk the great progress the nation has made in preventing too-early pregnancy and parenthood. Especially troubling the proposal to eliminate funding for the Office of Adolescent Health's Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Initiative. This important grant program is funding evidence-based programs that help reduce teen pregnancy for more than 100 grantees across the country. These grantees have the potential to serve more than 800,000 youth in nearly every state throughout the life of the program. By emphasizing evidence and evaluation, the historic initiative -- proposed by President Obama in his FY 2010 budget and enacted by Congress -- is the federal government's first serious effort to fund science-based approaches to preventing teen pregnancy.
Proposing cuts/eliminating programs that reduce teen pregnancy is fiscally irresponsible. Teen childbearing costs taxpayers $9.1 billion annually, according to a 2006 National Campaign analysis. Moreover, according to the same analysis, the United States saved $6.7 billion between 1991 and 2004 due to progress made in preventing teen pregnancy. In addition, a recent analysis by the Brookings Institution determined that replicating effective teen pregnancy prevention programs such as those supported by the Office of Adolescent Health grants is cost-beneficial (in other words, it saves more public funding than it costs).
Eliminating programs that reduce teen pregnancy is short-sighted. Reducing teen pregnancy helps reduce poverty, while improving educational achievement and workforce competitiveness, child welfare, and other critical social issues.
Supporting programs that reduce teen pregnancy has widespread support among the American public. A December 2010 National Campaign survey makes clear that nearly nine in ten adults believe that there should be direct efforts in their communities to prevent teen pregnancy -- exactly the sort of effort that Congress now proposes to eliminate. Teens and adults alike also overwhelmingly say that among the many problems facing the United States today, teen pregnancy is an important issue.
The nation has made truly remarkable progress in preventing too-early pregnancy and parenthood. Rates of teen pregnancy and childbearing have declined by about one-third over the past two decades. The proposed elimination puts this national success story at risk.
Adding insult to injury, the CR also proposes to completely eliminate funding for the critical Title X family planning program, as well as reduce funding levels for Community Health Centers and the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant -- all important efforts that help reduce unplanned pregnancy. Policymakers who are serious about addressing the federal deficit, supporting families, and reducing the prevalence of abortion in this country, should continue the nation's commitment to proven efforts to prevent teen and unplanned pregnancy rather than engaging in a short-sighted effort to eliminate them."
Download a printable version of this release.
About The National Campaign: The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy seeks to improve the lives and future prospects of children and families. Our specific strategy is to prevent teen pregnancy and unplanned pregnancy among single, young adults. We support a combination of responsible values and behavior by both men and women and responsible policies in both the public and private sectors. If we are successful, child and family well-being will improve.