Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has proposed cutting the $455,000 program, which funds sex education and birth control for teens in seven areas with some of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the state. McDonnell says the program has not worked.
In a statement, Favola said the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative (TPPI) helps teens make healthier decisions.
This is a recipe for unintended pregnancies and significant health risks to young women. Teens need good information to make healthy decisions, but not all of Virginia’s youth are receiving medically accurate information from trusted sources.
The prevention of teen pregnancy is a critical issue in Virginia. In 2010, 367,752 children were born to girls 15-19, nationally. That’s a rate of 34.3 pregnancies per 1000 women. In 2010, 10,970 of those teen pregnancies were in Virginia. That’s a rate of 21.1 pregnancies per 1000 women. Though Virginia’s teen pregnancy rate is below the national average, 28 cities and counties in the Commonwealth are above the national average, and the TPPI program targets areas that are most vulnerable.
TPPI has been a key part of Virginia’s teen pregnancy prevention efforts since 1994. It provides convenient, on-site access to wellness education and preventive health services. TPPI’s goal is for teens to receive medically accurate information, make healthy choices, and provide pregnancy prevention resources. TPPI aims to reduce teenage pregnancy through life skills training, education, health services, and awareness.
The program provides essential services to teenage girls in high-risk areas. It provides convenient, on-site access to wellness education and preventive health services. Not all parents feel comfortable having ‘the talk’ or discussing other topics important for our youth’s health and safety. The only way to ensure teen pregnancy rates continue on their long-term downward trend is to provide teens with the necessary education and resources so they are empowered to make healthy decisions. TPPI helps to inform teens with medically accurate information so they can make safe and responsible decisions.
The governor’s decision to eliminate TPPI’s funding does a great disservice to Virginia’s teens. His proposed budget cut will deprive teenage girls in the most high-risk areas of the state of the critical services and education necessary to make responsible and healthy life decisions.