The YEAH! Network uses research, advocacy, and community education and collaboration to influence policy and practice in adolescent sexual health. By articulating a common agenda among diverse local, state, and national stakeholders, we are working to create an informed, empowered, and engaged response to teen pregnancy and sexual health disparities in Hampden County.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Can our communities afford a 45% spike in the teen pregnancy rate?- URGENT ADVOCACY NEEDED

An important note from Patricia Quinn, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy:

Dear Advocates,

We urgently need you to contact your US Senators NOW to ask them to restore federal funding for teen pregnancy prevention and family planning.
Last Friday, the US House of Representatives passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) that would eliminate two very effective, cost-saving prevention programs from the federal budget. These service cuts would increase Massachusetts' teen pregnancy rate by about 45% and add more than $51 million in costs to Massachusetts taxpayers almost immediately.* Now the Senate needs to decide if they think our communities can afford more teen pregnancies.

In 2008, Title X family planning programs helped our state avoid 4,672 teen pregnancies. Eliminating Title X and the new Teen Pregnancy Prevention initiatives will result in a near immediate 45% spike in the state's teen pregnancy rate.The spike in unplanned pregnancies will cost Massachusetts taxpayers an additional $51+ million each year.The US House of Representatives' CR eliminates the new Office of Adolescent Health, which has committed more than $28 million to Massachusetts projects over the next five years. This will eliminate jobs and reduce Massachusetts' infrastructure for helping communities combat teen pregnancy, and will eliminate the new Alliance project, Youth First, in Springfield and Holyoke.

Please call Senators Brown and Kerry TODAY and ask them to be more fiscally responsible than the House by protecting Title X and the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiatives in the budget.

Senator Scott Brown (R- MA)
317 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Boston (617) 565-3170           D.C. (202) 224-4543

Senator John F. Kerry (D- MA)
218 Russell Bldg., Second Floor
Washington, D.C. 20510
Boston (617) 565-8519         D.C. (202) 224-2742 

Sample script:
My name is ______and I am calling from ________.  I urge Senator______ to vote to protect funding for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative and Title X. The cuts that have passed the House would have a devastating impact on efforts to prevent unintended pregnancy and the huge costs associated with it, HIV, and other STDs, and would undermine low-income people's access to health care. These cuts are not about "fiscal responsibility" or "reducing government spending." They are about eliminating access to comprehensive sex education, family planning, sexual and reproductive health services, and HIV/STD prevention for those most in need.

The Senate will take this up on Monday.  CALL NOW!

*Think our numbers sound extreme? The Guttmacher Institute just released a state-by-state analysis of the impact of Title X on the states. The analysis showed that without Title X, Massachusetts' teen pregnancy rate would be 45% higher. We haven't seen rates that high since teen pregnancy "boom" of the 1990s. While educational programs help youth avoid pregnancy in the long run, Title X helps them avoid pregnancy immediately. That means, without those Title X services, teens - and our communities - would see the immediate impact of an unplanned pregnancy. See more of the Guttmacher Institute's data here.

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