Taxpayers spent $5.4 billion on teen pregnancy in past two decades

Teen pregnancy cost Virginians $183 million in 2010

By Kaitlyn Speer | Watchdog.org, Virginia Bureau

ALEXANDRIA, Va.— Virginia spent $5.4 billion in federal tax dollars on teen pregnancy over the past two decades, according to a study published by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unwanted Pregnancy.

Virginia spent $183 million for the care and support of teen pregnancies in 2010 alone, the most recently available statistics. That’s $22.87 for every man, woman and child in the commonwealth.

Teen pregnancy rates and thus costs are going down, but taxpayers are still footing a big bill.

“It’s a glass half full, half empty,” said Bill Albert, chief program officer for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unwanted Pregnancy.

Virginia spent money on everything from education on abstinence and contraception to the implementation of peer counselor programs and an office of pregnant and parenting services at targeted higher ed institutions. Funds also went towards the identification and referral of pregnant victims of sexual and domestic violence and stalking for services, along with the development of a public awareness program to inform the public and link parenting and pregnant students to needed services.

Virginia primarily funnels funds through the Personal Responsibility Education Program, giving grants to local organizations.

Some of the largest grants include $290,494 for the city of Alexandria, $458,032 for James Madison University, and $405,780 for Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Virginia.Federal statute prohibits any federal money, in the PREP program or elsewhere, to be used for abortions.

Anymore, out-of-wedlock pregnancy is more of a problem for 20 and 30-somethings than teenagers, according to Janice Shaw Crouse, executive director and senior fellow at the Concerned Women for America’s Beverly LaHaye Institute.

“So throwing money at the problem is not really making a difference,” she said. “We must change the culture to recognize the importance of fathers in families and the predictable risks that are associated with children growing up in fatherless homes.”

Kaitlyn Speer is an intern at Watchdog.org, Virginia Bureau and can be reached at kspeer@watchdog.org and @KSpeer11.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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