The National Campaign's Latino Initiative and Public Policy departments have made headway with advocating for the Communities of Color (CoC) Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Act (PDF), H.R. 5033. The CoC bill is an important step in making progress in communities of color that suffer disproportionately from the incidence of teen pregnancy. It is still the case that 50% of African American teen girls and 52% of Latina teens become pregnant before the age of 20. The bill would invest in: demonstration grants focused on teen pregnancy prevention among racial or ethnic minority communities; multimedia campaigns to increase public awareness in such communities; and research to expand knowledge and improve data collection on issues including the factors behind disproportionately high rates in these communities and effective interventions to address this problem. It also focuses on healthy relationships.
We're only as good as our partnering organizations, with whom we have collaborated to secure the necessary co-sponsors for this bill. The CoC bill went from having only one co-sponsor in June 2010 to 38 co-sponsors in September 2010. We could not have reached this number without the Hill visits made to Members of Congress by our very own Latino Initiative Advisory Group (LIAG) in June, nor without the more than 120 visits on Capitol Hill during the first week of Hispanic Heritage Month by our long-term partner Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) -- who played a key role in the introduction of the first version of this bill -- and our newest partner on this issue, the National Hispana Leadership Institute (NHLI).
Thanks to these Capitol Hill visits and advocacy, we are much closer to helping Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard reach her goal of garnering 100 co-sponsors for the Communities of Color Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Act, including the support of Congressman Henry Waxman, Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction for this bill.