On September 30, 2015, President Obama signed into law H.R. 719, continuing resolution that funds the government through December 11, 2015. The bill—which received bipartisan support—extends FY 2015 funding levels while applying a .21 percent cut for most programs, including the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP), which is currently funded at $101 million.However, in June, both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees passed their respective versions of the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (LHHS) spending bill for FY 2016, with devastating cuts to proven programs that reduce teen and unplanned pregnancy, specifically the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP). While these bills themselves are unlikely to become law, it sets a dangerous precedent for negotiations this fall. For more information on what these appropriations bills did, see the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy statement here.
What Happens Next?
While funding is secure through December 11, it is still a volatile climate with TPPP under threat in any final FY 2016 deal that Congress works out for beyond that date. This means we must keep up the drumbeat to protect this program!
What You Can Do
It is critical that you continue to weigh in with your members of Congress, and those they listen to, on the value of the TPPP. This is particularly important if your organization, or someone in your community, just received a new grant from TPPP. Your members of Congress need to hear about the great work that this funding is supporting over the next five years, assuming funding continues.
- Send a letter to your members of Congress. TPPP grantees cannot lobby with grant funds, or with other federal funds. However, organizations are able to lobby with other, non-federal funds, to the extent allowed by your own organizational rules. What grantees absolutely can do is educate and share information about the grants you have received.
- Here is a sample education letter that you can use as a template to share the great work happening in your community with your members of Congress.
- If you are able to lobby, here is a sample advocacy letter to use as a template when contacting your members of Congress.
We strongly recommend emailing or faxing your letters as it can take several weeks for postal mail to be processed once it reaches the Hill. To look up your Representative, click here and enter your zip code in the box on the top right. To view your Senators, click here.
- Please fully fund the evidence-based Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP) at $101 million for FY 2016.
- Since the first round of TPPP grants began in 2010, the teen birth rate in the U.S. has declined 29%, about twice as large as the decline in any other four-year period. Why mess with success?
- Eight in 10 adults (83%) support the federal evidence–based Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP), including 92% of Democrats and 75% of Republicans.
For additional points you can make, see our TPPP talking points.
Additional Things You Can Do:
- Develop a statement or news release to make sure local press know about new grants where appropriate, the proposed cuts, and, how this affects your community.
- Write an op-ed or letter to the editor for your local newspaper.
- Send an alert to others in your network asking them to contact elected officials. Feel free to use our language to make it easier. Ask young people you work with to lend their voice—they can write letters to the editor, send emails to elected officials, and use social media to encourage their friends to contact their elected officials.
- If you have board members or other friends who have good relationships with your congressional delegation, encourage them to weigh in—a quick phone call or email from someone that is well connected goes a long way.
- If you haven’t already put your name on this letter from more than 140 groups supporting TPPP, email Rachel Fey at firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP and let her know that you’d like to be added.
Below are resources to help you. Feel free to lift from this alert or any other materials.
Also, please send any press coverage to your elected officials and to us—we can make sure it gets in front of them but it is even more powerful coming from a constituent.
- A blog from Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution on why Republicans should use evidence and not ideology when funding teen pregnancy prevention programs.
- September 2015 letter from more than 140 national, state, and local groups demonstrating broad support for maintaining funding for evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs.
- For state specific information about teen and unplanned pregnancy and TPPP grants going to the state, see here.
- Survey data and infographics that demonstrate…
- …strong support for TPPP, along with a graph pointing out the dramatic progress in the national teen birth rate since TPPP began. While there are certainly many things that have contributed to the declines in teen childbearing, this accelerating progress is notable.
- …widespread support across racial/ethnic, political, and regional lines, as well as among all ages and education levels for the evidence-based TPPP.
- …extensive support for taxpayer-funded efforts to prevent teen pregnancy to be invested in interventions that have been shown to actually change teen sexual behavior.
Note: In the photo gallery below each Survey Says, you will find separate infographics for the items in the document so you can easily use them separately or together as you see fit.