Texas has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country, and a proposed spending bill could make those numbers worse.
On Tuesday, Senate Republicans released a proposal that would cut funding for women’s health, including $101 million from the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program. Gwen Daverth, President and CEO of The Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, said these cuts could have negative effects on family planning programs across the state.
“Texas right now has the third highest teen pregnancy rate, the number one rate of repeat teen births; which means as a teenager, they have more than one baby,” says Daverth. “As a state, we need effective programs and this is one of the few programs that puts it in place.”
Doverth’s non-profit focuses on reducing the rate of teen pregnancy throughout the state by providing research-based information to create constructive change in family planning programs. She says that the hours in which teens are most at risk of becoming pregnant are between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. – when parents are most likely to be out of the house. However, this can be prevented with the right programs.
“By keeping kids busy during these key times you’re reducing the risk of pregnancy and doing it without contraception,” says Daverth.
The family planning programs that would be affected by the cuts are not only integral to lowering the high teen pregnancy rate in Texas, she says, but could have a larger effect.
“When our teens become pregnant, our economy and education and everything suffers,” says Daverth. “So it is an important issue to a lot of people.”