Progress may be jeopardized by federal government cuts to teen pregnancy prevention programs
December 21, 2017 – As the federal government ends funding for the national Teen Pregnancy Prevention program, the Health Department today announced an overall 60 percent drop in the teen pregnancy rate in New York City between 2000 and 2015. The decline is detailed in a new Epi Data Brief titled “Trends in Pregnancy, Sexual Behavior, and Use of Contraception among Teens in New York City.” To highlight the impact of the City’s teen pregnancy prevention programs, for the next six weeks, Health Department social media channels (Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Facebook) will feature the stories of teenagers who have participated in the New York City Teens Connection program (NYCTC). Created in 2015 as an expansion of the Bronx Teens Connection, NYCTC provides sexual health education and teen-friendly clinical services through community partners, schools and health centers. To date, NYCTC has reached 7,000 young people, with a goal of reaching at least 15,000 people by next June. NYCTC receives a majority of its federal funding through the national Teen Pregnancy Prevention program, and it would be in jeopardy if planned federal budget cuts take place. The stories of teens who participated in the program. The full Epi Data Brief (PDF).
“This dramatic reduction in teen pregnancy rates is a clear indication that sexual health education programs for teenagers must be preserved and expanded,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “The planned federal funding cut to the Teen Pregnancy Prevention program is a tragic and unjust move that would jeopardize the historic progress achieved by this city and others around the country. We cannot risk turning back, and we must do all we can to continue the progress we’ve made in promoting and protecting the reproductive health of New Yorkers.”
“The good news is that we have seen a drop in teen pregnancy rates over the years. However, inequities still persist with higher rates in some neighborhoods as compared to others. This is why our NYC Teens Connection Program is so important,” said Deputy Commissioner Dr. Aletha Maybank. “Our amazing teens and partners are leading the way in preventing unintended teen pregnancy in their neighborhoods. Far too often their voices go unheard and underappreciated. Our social media campaign, under #NeighborhoodVoicesNYC, will elevate their stories to share the amazing work they are doing.”
“Sex education and contraception work,” said Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried. “As the Federal government attacks evidence-based public health policy, we must expand successful education and outreach programs that engage teens and their communities in making responsible choices.”
"The drastic drop in the teen pregnancy rate it in New York City is directly correlated to our youth having greater access to age-appropriate sex education," said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. "It is outrageous that the federal government is stripping funding from programs that help our youth make responsible decisions about their sexual activity and be better equipped to protect themselves and their partners."
Additional low- to no-cost reproductive health services are available at the City’s eight Sexual Health Clinics, which provide emergency contraception or “quick start” oral contraceptive pills. The Depo-Provera birth control shot is also available at the Fort Greene clinic. The Sexual Health Clinics operate Monday through Friday, with Saturday hours available at the Riverside and Fort Greene clinics. Our services are fast and easy to access. Clinic services are available on a walk-in basis, six days per week, to anyone 12 years of age and above, without parental notification and without regard for ability to pay or immigration status.
The overall goal of the School-Based Health Center (SBHC) Reproductive Health Project (RHP) is to reduce unintended teen pregnancies in NYC schools with SBHCs by ensuring that they provide comprehensive reproductive health services, including onsite dispensing of contraceptives. As of October 2017, there were 82 SBHCs in NYC serving over 100,000 high school students.
Find information about safe birth control options and where to get them by searching Teen Health: Birth Control at nyc.gov/health.
MEDIA CONTACT: Christopher Miller/Julien Martinez, (347) 396-4177