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Planned Parenthood Calls for Increased Funding to Federal Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative to Bring Comprehensive Sex Education to More Teens and Lower Teen Pregnancy Rates
Congressional Briefing Highlights New Data and Teen Pregnancy Prevention Strategies
WASHINGTON, DC – At a Congressional Briefing sponsored by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), experts from Planned Parenthood and the Guttmacher Institute highlighted the need for increased federal funding of comprehensive sex education programs that provide young people with accurate information to make responsible decisions about their health.
Planned Parenthood joined Sen. Lautenberg and Reps. Lee and Roybal-Allard in requesting $130 million for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative in the 2014 federal budget, an increase of more than $25 million. In 2010 Congress first funded the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative (TPPI) and the Personal Responsibility and Education Program (PREP) to support programs working to prevent teen pregnancy.
Jaqui Oropeza, trainer/community educator at Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, spoke about ¡Cuídate!, an evidence-based program which is specifically geared to Latino teens. “¡Cuídate! highlights cultural values that support safer sex, and reframe cultural values that are perceived as barriers to safer sex,” she said.
"The recent declines in teen pregnancy rates are great news. But the continued inequalities among racial and ethnic groups are cause for concern,” said Heather Boonstra, senior public policy associate at the Guttmacher Institute. “It is time to redouble our efforts to ensure all teens have access to the information and contraceptive services they need to prevent unwanted pregnancies."
Annually, about 30 percent of young women in the U.S. become pregnant before the age of 20 — for Latinas that number is four in 10. Latina teens are also 1.5 times more likely than white non-Latina teen moms to have a repeat teen birth.
A nationally representative poll conducted by Planned Parenthood and the Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health (CLAFH) at the Silver School of Social Work at New York University for May’s National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month shows that Latinos in the U.S. believe that addressing teen pregnancy is a major priority — an even higher concern within their own communities than for other groups — and that access to birth control and sex education are critical.
“More than 90 percent of Latinos support comprehensive sex education in middle and high schools, the kind of sex education that Planned Parenthood provides in communities throughout the country to teens, young adults, and parents,” said Leslie Kantor, vice president, education, at Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
More than two-thirds of poll respondents think that reducing teen pregnancy should be a high priority for the U.S. government.
In sponsoring the briefing, Rep. Lee stressed the importance of “effectively funding ex education and prevention strategies, through critical programs like the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative (TPPI), and the Personal Responsibility and Education Program (PREP) that help to delay sexual activity and increase contraceptive and condom use.”
Research shows that well-designed and well-implemented pregnancy prevention programs can decrease sexual risk behaviors among students, including delaying sexual intercourse, increasing condom or contraceptive use, reducing the number of partners, and decreasing the frequency of unprotected sex.
Key highlights of the poll include:
• Eighty-seven percent of Latinos surveyed said it is very important for teens to avoid getting pregnant or causing a pregnancy.
• Fifty-one percent said avoiding teen pregnancy is even more important for Latinos than it is for other groups.
• Latinos in the survey overwhelmingly said that addressing teen pregnancy is a shared responsibility among parents, schools, the government, religion, and the media.
• Latinos support comprehensive sex education in high schools that includes topics such as sexually transmitted diseases (97 percent), healthy relationships (94 percent), abstinence (92 percent), birth control (91 percent), and sexual orientation (82 percent).
• One-third of respondents said that Latino teens have less access to birth control than other Americans.