On June 17, the House Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (LHHS) Subcommittee passed its version of the FY 2016 spending bill, which eliminates critical programs proven to reduce teen and unplanned pregnancy, reduce abortion, and save tax dollars. In the first round of the 5-year grants (FY 2010 through FY 2014), Texas received more than $37 million in funding from this program over 5 years. Texas, along with the organizations who provide teen pregnancy prevention services are in a position to benefit greatly from this second round of funding so it's important for individuals and organizations to speak up now. The full House Appropriations Committee will vote on the bill tomorrow, Wed, June 24.
Specifically, the House bill:
Eliminates all $101 million in funding for the evidence-based Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP), which supports programs that have been rigorously evaluated and proven to change behavior.
Eliminates all $286 million in funding for the Title X Family Planning Program that provides millions of low income women and men with contraception.
Includes broad language allowing insurers (including student health plans) and employers to not cover any service for which they have a religious or moral objection. This could result in an unknown number of women losing contraceptive coverage.
Mark your calendar! The Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy's 2016 annual symposium is scheduled for April 11-12, 2016, in Austin, Texas. This annual event brings together organizations and individuals from across Texas, enabling them to build diverse connections with those working in teen pregnancy prevention. For more information about symposium plans, and ways to get involved, check out the symposium page on the Texas Campaign website. Be sure and bookmark the page as we'll add important details as they arise.
Want to love going to work every day? Come work with us at the Texas Campaign. We've got some BIG things we're working on, and we need a Director of Community Support and Training Services to help make it all happen. If that sounds like you, this could be the job of your dreams.
Communicating with the public about your work can generate awareness, motivate action, spur funding, and keep a community focused on the ultimate goal-reducing teen pregnancy. Developing a strong communications strategy, however, can be challenging. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy recently published a great toolkit to help guide organizations in their development of a communications strategy. This resource can also help you determine which media channels are the best fit for disseminating your core messages to your target audience.
The 84th Texas Legislative session has come and gone, officially ending on June 1. Though progress was made on many important issues including early education programs, higher education research and roads, no progress was made on the multitude of bills on the agenda around sexuality education in Texas schools. All bills supported by the Texas Campaign failed to pass during this legislative session.