Newsroom: Press Releases
Lautenberg, Menendez Offer Comprehensive Approach To Reduce Teen Pregnancy and Abortions
Alex Formuzis (202) 224-7340
Tuesday, July 25, 2006 WASHINGTON, D.C. – Acting to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies and abortions in the United States, Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today offered an amendment on the Senate floor to fund programs to encourage abstinence as well as sex education. Currently the federal government doesn’t support any sex education programs that include information about contraception or other forms of birth control.
The legislation was offered as an amendment during consideration of the Child Custody Protection Act (S.403).
“We all want to reduce teen pregnancies and abortions. To achieve that, we must do what works, not what pleases political constituencies,” said Lautenberg. “A comprehensive approach to sex education, which includes both abstinence and information on contraception, is the proven way to reduce the number of teen pregnancies. If the Senate passes this punitive bill but fails to do anything about teen pregnancy, it would prove that this exercise is only a political charade and not a serious effort to reduce abortions.”
“Experts say that children born to teen parents are more likely to enter the criminal justice system and to be teen parents themselves,” Menendez said. “Our role as a community is to provide opportunity and education for young people to help prevent teen pregnancy from happening in the first place. We can achieve this by making the community more available through after-school programs, as well as, partnerships with faith-based and other community organizations.”
The Lautenberg/Menendez Teen Pregnancy Prevention Amendment will help reduce teen pregnancy by creating a grant program to teach comprehensive sex-education (education that promotes abstinence, but also includes information about contraception); increasing funding for existing after-school programs that provide academic enrichment for at-risk teens; and establish a demonstration project that funds creative new programs to supplement teen pregnancy prevention education programs in school or after school.
Each year in the United States approximately 860,000 young women become pregnant before they reach the age of 20. Eighty percent of these pregnancies are unintended, and 81 percent of these young women are unmarried.
The federal government currently does not fund comprehensive sex-education programs, despite the fact that 75 percent of parents say that in addition to abstinence, sex-education should cover contraception and other forms of birth control.