Funding for Teen Pregnancy Prevention in Health Reform – Pending Congressional Action
Mandatory funding* for states, tribes, and territories for evidence-based programs
The Senate health reform bill—although not yet passed— currently includes a program that would provide a total of $75 million in mandatory funds for FY 2010 through FY 2014 to help young people avoid teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. The Personal Responsibility Education program would provide approximately $50 million to states and territories for evidence-based programs. These formula grants would be based on the proportion of youth in a given state and funds would be given directly to the state agency that would administer the program. These programs would also be required to address several other issues to help prepare youth for adulthood including healthy relationships, financial literacy, parent-child communication, and educational and career success.
The Personal Responsibility Education program would also provide $10 million annually to support innovative strategies and services for high risk and vulnerable youth, approximately $3 million specifically for Indian tribes and tribal organizations, and approximately $6 million for research, training and technical assistance.
There is no indication that a match will be required for this funding.
Mandatory funding for states and territories for abstinence-only programs
The Senate health reform bill—again, not currently passed—includes a provision that would restore the Section 510 Abstinence Education grants that expired on June 30, 2009. These grants would also go directly to state agencies, and grantees would be required to adhere to an eight-point definition of abstinence currently in statute.
Guidance issued under the Bush Administration required grantees to give equal weight to each of the eight points in the definition. It may be the case that the Obama Administration would return to the original interpretation of the law, which was less restrictive.
This provision would provide $50 million in formula grants annually for FY 2010 through FY 2014, and a state match of $3 for every $4 in federal funds would be required.
Discretionary funding** for states and territories for evidence-based programs
The House health reform bill includes the Healthy Teen Initiative a program that would provide $50 million annually in formula grants to states and territories for medically accurate, age-appropriate programs to reduce teen pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections. Unlike the two mandatory streams above, this funding would be subject to the annual appropriations process.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would create a registry of evidence-based programs eligible for the funding from which applicants could choose. Programs that have been found through “methodologically sound” research to delay initiation of sex, to decrease number of partners, to reduce teen pregnancy, to reduce sexually transmitted infection rates or to improve rates of contraceptive use would be included.
Like the abstinence grants, the formula is based on the proportion of low-income youth in a state. A match of $1 (cash or in-kind) for every $4 in federal funding would be required for states.
Next steps in health reform
The Senate is expected to pass its health reform bill on December 24th. The House and Senate will then reconcile their respective health reform bills in January 2010. If the Senate bill passes with both the Personal Responsibility Education program and the Abstinence Education provisions intact, the House and Senate will negotiate during conference to decide which of the three programs will end up in the final health reform bill.
*Mandatory funding is funding that is authorized and directly appropriated from the federal budget for the specified amount of time, rather than being subject to the annual federal appropriations process.
**Discretionary funding is subject to annual Congressional approval through the federal appropriations process.