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New Report on the Cost of Teen Pregnancy Is a National Wake-Up Call

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Liz Delapoer
Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette
503.775.4931 x3321
liz.delapoer@ppcw.org


Published: 06.10.11| Updated: 06.10.11

Portland, OR – June 10, 2011 # Planned Parenthood calls upon all Americans to recognize the urgency of reducing the nation’s teen unintended pregnancy rate. Teen unintended pregnancy and birthrates have declined sharply since the early 1990s. But a new report from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy shows that teen childbearing cost United States taxpayers $10.9 billion in 2008.

“This report is a wake-up call,” said Leslie Kantor, National Director of Education for Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “We know what works to keep young people from becoming pregnant. Sex education works. Hundreds of studies have demonstrated that sex education is effective when it provides the information, interpersonal skills and motivation that young people need to delay sex # and use contraception and condoms when they do have sex.”

The National Campaign report links teen pregnancy to other negative consequences that increase financial costs to taxpayers. According to the report, if those giving birth during their teen years instead had their children during adulthood, U.S. taxpayers would save about $1,600 per person annually. Prior studies have found that over 80 percent of teen pregnancies are unintended.

Teen childbearing cost Oregon taxpayers $110 million, and Washington taxpayers $151 million, in 2008, according to the National Campaign’s findings.

“It’s clear that Oregon and Washington State need to make larger investments in prevention,” said David Greenberg, Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette President and CEO. “Increasing access to comprehensive sex education, counseling and birth control would not only improve the lives of young women, it would save money and help our states balance their budgets."

The June 2011 issue of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health includes a study from researchers at the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization that detailed a similar $11 billion toll from unintended pregnancy. That report estimated that the government spent between $9.6 billion and $12.6 billion paying for more than 1.2 million unintended pregnancies in 2001. Two additional studies, also published in the same issue of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, had similar findings.

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Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette (PPCW) is the largest non-profit family planning and reproductive rights organization in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Since 1963, PPCW has successfully carried out its mission of providing, promoting and protecting access to quality reproductive and sexual health care. Each year, more than 60,000 women, men and teens visit one of PPCW’s eleven health centers. PPCW provides a wide range of education programs and health care services, including low-cost contraceptives, emergency contraception, annual gynecological check-ups, breast exams, cervical cancer detection and treatment, sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment, and pregnancy testing and options information. Less than five percent of PPCW’s services are for early abortion care. For more information, visit www.ppcw.org

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