ACCESS TO TEEN PREGNANCY PREVENTION AIDS TEENAGE PREGNANCY RATES
Indianapolis, IN — More than two decades of investments in prevention programs and services have led to significant declines in unplanned pregnancies and birth rates among teens in Indiana. Between 1991 and 2015 the Indiana teen birth rate declined by 57 percent.
Public health experts say factors such as access to teenage sexual health prevention programs have aided in this decline.
“High quality, accurate and age appropriate teen pregnancy and HIV/STD prevention programs are essential to this decline and to ensuring that Hoosier teens have access to prevention education to help them avoid unplanned pregnancy and HIV/STDs,” Abby Hunt, executive director of Health Care Education and Training said.
“Our rural, urban and suburban communities across the state are asking for this. Parents are asking for this. At the community level, this is rarely a contested issue because these programs allow educators to prepare youth for a future full of promise and to address a key factor in growing healthy and robust communities,” she continued.
In addition to quality pregnancy prevention education being a key to declining rates, a recent study shows that there is a cost savings to the community.
“The costs of teen pregnancy in Indiana extend beyond the individual and family impacted and include costs to child welfare, juvenile justice and Medicaid,” Hunt said.
A recent analysis from Power to Decide, the campaign to prevent unplanned pregnancy reported the declines in teen pregnancy resulted in a public savings of $58 million in 2015 for Indiana residents. The additional public savings that could be realized in Marion county if all unplanned pregnancies among teens were avoided would be $6,056,000 based on the average public savings for each teen birth averted.
The analysis reflects the public-sector savings that are directly tied to medical and economic supports provided during pregnancy and infancy for teen mothers specifically through Medicaid and the Women Infant and Children (WIC), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) programs.
Yet, despite the impressive record of success as well as significant savings to taxpayers, Indiana teen pregnancy rates are still above the national average. In 2015 there were 5,813 births to teens with 74 percent being to older teens ages 18 to 19. In addition, 16 percent of all teen births were to teens who already had a child.
Just as education has played an important role in declining teen pregnancy, the expansion of contraceptive coverage and programs like Title X allow low income women and men access to low or no cost healthcare and contraceptives.
“In Indiana, we (Indiana Family Health Council) provide services to nearly 30,000 Hoosiers; including teens. We know for every $1 of Title X funding $7 is saved, Kristin Adams, president and CEO of the Indiana Family Health Council said.
The Title X family planning program is funded through the Indian Family Health Council and provides teen pregnancy prevention to several Indianapolis Public Schools in partnership with Social Health Association.
Indiana Family Health Council is a private, not-for-profit organization that funds 35 reproductive health clinics across the state to make healthcare and education available and accessible to all women, men and teens in Indiana, no matter insurance coverage or income level. Of these clinics, 30 are open to the public.
Health Care Education and Training (HCET) is based in Indianapolis, IN and provides education, training and technical assistance, program development, grants management and evaluation services to professionals to improve reproductive health.
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