Official Statement on the Proposed Elimination of Federally Funded Teen Pregnancy Prevention Services
Durham, N.C. (February 22, 2011) – North Carolina adolescent health advocates are strongly opposing legislation moving through the U.S. Congress that would eliminate two critical adolescent pregnancy prevention initiatives. Eliminating these programs will cost North Carolina taxpayers more than $100 million each year and set back decades of progress in the state’s steadily declining adolescent pregnancy rate.
This afternoon, Kay Phillips, executive director of the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina (APPCNC), released the following statement asking Senator Richard Burr and Senator Kay Hagan to oppose the proposed service eliminations during US Senate budget negotiations.
“North Carolina, like many of our neighboring Southern states, has long struggled with high adolescent pregnancy rates. With smart, fiscally responsible investments from the state of North Carolina and the federal government, we turned the tide and our adolescent pregnancy rate recently reached a 30-year low. Now, having made such progress but still holding rank with the 14th highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation, we cannot give up.
Last Friday, the US House of Representatives passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) that eliminates two of our most helpful tools for helping young people avoid pregnancy, make responsible decisions, and access a healthy, prosperous future. The elimination of Title X and the new Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiatives stand to increase the cost North Carolina to taxpayers by more than $100 million each year, and set North Carolina’s adolescent pregnancy rate back decades.
Title X is the federal government's domestic family planning initiative, and provides basic care –including contraceptives, mammograms and cancer screenings, pap tests, STI/HIV tests, and more – to low-income women through county health departments and community clinics. In 2008, it helped our state avert 28,000 unintended pregnancies, including teen pregnancies. More specifically, Title X prevented more than 7,000 adolescent pregnancies in 2006.
Without Title X, North Carolina’s 2008 teen pregnancy rate would've been 32% higher. In 2008, Title X saved North Carolina taxpayers more than $109 Million by helping low-income women avoid unintended pregnancies.
The US House of Representatives’ CR has also eliminates the new Office of Adolescent Health, which has committed more than $30 million to North Carolina projects over the next five years. Eliminating this program will not only eliminate programs and jobs, but will also reduce North Carolina’s infrastructure and research base for helping communities combat teen pregnancy through both abstinence-based and comprehensive prevention programs.
Teen pregnancy already costs North Carolina taxpayers more than $300 million each year. Public health initiatives – including those funded by both the state of North Carolina and the federal government – have been tremendously successful in reducing the cost to taxpayers. Furthermore, these initiatives have improved lives, stopped generational cycles of poverty and poor outcomes, and increased the number of North Carolina youth who have the opportunity to become healthy, responsible, prosperous adults. We simply cannot afford to regress.
We ask Senators Hagan and Burr to make the fiscally and morally responsible decision to proactively work to include Title X and the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiatives in the federal budget.”