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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Reducing Teen Pregnancy: Adolescent Family Life and Abstinence Education Programs

Carmen Solomon-Fears
Specialist in Social Policy

In 2009, 46% of students in grades 9-12 reported that they had experienced sexual intercourse; about 20% of female teens who have had sexual intercourse become pregnant each year. In recognition of the often negative, long-term consequences associated with teenage pregnancy, Congress has provided funding for the prevention of teenage and out-of-wedlock pregnancies. This report discusses three programs that exclusively attempt to reduce teenage pregnancy. The Adolescent Family Life (AFL) demonstration program was enacted in 1981 as Title XX of the Public Health Service Act, and the Abstinence Education program was enacted in 1996 as part of the welfare reform legislation. Also, since FY2001, additional funding for community-based abstinence education programs has been included in annual Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) appropriations.

P.L. 111-117, the Consolidated Appropriations for FY2010 (enacted December 16, 2009), includes a new discretionary Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) program, identical to the one proposed in the President's FY2010 budget, which would provide grants and contracts on a competitive basis to public and private entities to fund "medically accurate and age appropriate" programs that reduce teen pregnancy (much of the money would be used to replicate programs that were proven effective through rigorous evaluation, and some of the money would be used to develop, refine, and test additional models and innovative strategies). The new TPP program is funded at $110 million for FY2010.

Although no abstinence-only education funding was appropriated in P.L. 111-117 (the Consolidated Appropriations for FY2010; enacted December 16, 2009), P.L. 111-148 (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA); enacted March 23, 2010) restored funding to the Title V Abstinence Education formula block grant to states at the previous annual level of $50 million for each of FY2010-FY2014 ($250 million over five years).

In addition, P.L. 111-148 established a new state formula grant program and appropriated $75 million annually for each of FY2010–FY2014 to enable states to operate a new Personal Responsibility Education program ($375 million over five years). The new Personal Responsibility Education program is a comprehensive approach to teen pregnancy prevention that educates adolescents on both abstinence and contraception to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, and it also provides youth with information about several adulthood preparation subjects (i.e., healthy relationships, adolescent development, financial literacy, parent-child communication, educational and career success, and healthy life skills).

(For information on the Obama Administration's and Congress' new approach to teen pregnancy prevention, see CRS Report R40618, Teen Pregnancy Prevention: Background and Proposals in the 111th Congress.)

Date of Report: July 30, 2010
Number of Pages: 11
Order Number: RS20873
Price: $29.95

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