March 2011 Archives
Mar 31 2011Has It Really Been a Decade?
The 10th annual National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy--scheduled for May 4th--is fast approaching and we are very excited about this year's offerings. Throughout May, teens nationwide will be able to visit StayTeen.org to participate in a number of online activities--including our popular National Day Quiz--that deliver teen pregnancy prevention messages and challenge them to think carefully about what they might do "in the moment." This year's online National Day online activities will include the following:
- The National Day Quiz: Our popular online quiz (available in English and Spanish) is returning, but we've decided to try something new this year. For the first time ever, each of the quiz scenarios will be illustrated using quirky stop-motion animation. Trust us when we say that the National Day Quiz has never looked better. As usual, print versions of the quiz and discussion guides for teens and parents will also be available.
- Night of the Living Blockheads Game: Based on the amazing success and feedback that we received for last year's Stay Teen Block Party game, we're planning another great online game for this year's event. This year's game aims to dispel some popular myths about pregnancy, sex, birth control, relationships, and more. Plus there are zombies! More on that later.
We are excited to share these activities with you beginning on May 1st and throughout May. Stay tuned for more National Day announcements here at Pregnant Pause and in the National Day section of our website the coming weeks. You can also sign up for our National Day Update E-Newsletter here. Just check the "National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy" box. Remember - you've still got a month to plan, so it's not too late to get involved and help spread the word. Need some ideas? Check out the National Day section of our website.
Mar 30 2011Teen Mom 2: Happily Ever After?
Mar 28 2011Kanye Was Right About One Thing: Guys Care About the Cost of Fatherhood
To go along with the theme of a recent post by Intern Extraordinaire Sarah Wilson, Kanye West's tweet from a few weeks ago reminds us yet again that a pregnancy does not solidify a relationship and/or act as a promise for happily-ever-after. Kanye tweets that guys should "strapup" since women get pregnant on purpose to trap the father and get his money through child support (he sums this up with the term "gold-digger"). He also claims that abortions can cost up to "50gs maybe a 100" (in fact the cost of an abortion at a health center tends to range from $350-$950 during the first trimester, though BET blogger Dior Noir has a possible explanation for the figure Kanye tweeted). Kanye's estimate more closely resembles the cost of having and raising a child, though actually falls way short of the average cost as of 2010.
While in one light I can appreciate Kanye's twisted attempt at a PSA for condom use, I have many issues with the reasons that urged him to share this message. Putting aside the question of whether the stereotype of the woman using pregnancy to trick her partner into a commitment (and several studies, including one by The National Campaign, have dealt serious blows to that stereotype of late), I'm always curious about how the guy ends up the victim in these tales and the girl as the gold-digging manipulator.
Mar 25 2011Beyond the Budget Debates: Recognizing the Providers
The best part of my job is often when I get the chance to get out of the office and meet with people who are working directly with youth. I was fortunate enough to recently get a chance to meet with nearly 200 of the great folks who will be running the evidence-based programs funded through the Office of Adolescent Health at HHS. The providers were enthusiastic and inspiring, and what struck me most of all was their dedication to helping youth succeed and excel in life--the teens who get to participate in these programs will indeed be lucky. Unfortunately, teens may never get a chance to benefit from the wisdom, training, and enthusiasm that these providers bring.
As you may recall, the House of Representatives already passed a bill that would eliminate all funding for these evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs. The Senate defeated that bill so now it's back to the negotiating table (learn more about the debate over the 2011 Continuing Resolution here). While the federal government is currently operating under a continuing resolution which includes funding for these programs, that continuing resolution will expire on April 8th. In the meantime, Members of Congress are having internal discussions about where to cut the budget. In my mind, keeping the modest amount of funding for evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs is a no-brainer.
What do you think? These are programs that have been proven to decrease risky behavior that can lead to a pregnancy. Kids who participate in these programs will have a brighter future and will certainly benefit from being able to connect to some of the fabulous providers I met this week. If you agree that preventing teen pregnancy is important and fiscally responsible, I'd encourage you to call your Representative and Senators and tell them how important this modest amount of funding is.
Mar 24 2011Zen and the Art of Assessing The Affordable Care Act
With the news on Libya and Japan seeming to eclipse almost everything else these days, it might be easy to miss the fact that yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of The Affordable Care Act (ACA). I can hear you groan at the mere thought of rehashing what feels like an endless debate on the merits and flaws of this game-changing law. Trust me, I groan too. I don't think we will know for decades what the ultimate benefits and costs of the ACA as a whole will be. What we do know is that there are some specific provisions that will do much to help prevent teen and unplanned pregnancy. I hope that regardless of your politics, you agree that teen pregnancy is something we should work to prevent. I hope that you agree that in a nation where half of all pregnancies are unplanned (significantly higher than any other industrialized nation) we must do more to reduce these numbers and promote stronger families.
OK, so brace yourself. The much-maligned Affordable Care Act has provisions that do just that. Here are a few of our favorites:
- If you're under 26, you can stay on your parents insurance.
- There is $75 million annually for five years for states to do evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs.
- The law also allows states to expand Medicaid family planning coverage through a much simpler process.
- Finally, if all goes as I hope it will, we will see contraception covered with no co-pays! Just imagine filling your birth control prescription and not sweating how much you might have to pay out of pocket. Are you with me ladies? This is good stuff!
So, while we may all debate the larger pros and cons of such a huge law, let's remember that there's some good stuff that helps to address a very real problem in this country. Amidst the shouts on either side, close your eyes, assume a Zen-like state, and dream of free birth control.