It is pretty common knowledge that the U.S. economy has been struggling for a couple of years now. The federal budget has been cutting money that goes to state run programs which has led to nearly all 50 states budgets also getting reduced. Programs all over have been getting their funding reduced but one area that has been especially hit is family planning. With a national call to cut spending anti-choice zealots leaped at the opportunity to ensure that any and all family planning programs lose money. From traditionally conservative states like Texas and Florida to moderate states like New Hampshire and New Jersey family planning programs have been reduced or eliminated from state budgets.
Governor McDonnell seems to have joined the bandwagon by eliminating all funding to the Virginia Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative. Though Virginia’s state wide average of teen pregnancy is below the national average there are 28 cities and counties that are actually above the national average so a program was created to provide in school access to teens in some of the higher risk areas. The initiative created area run programs to teach teens about their reproductive health and how to prevent pregnancy.
McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin is quoted in the Washington Post saying “’this administration is focused on making state government more efficient and effective… That means looking at every state program to determine if it is actually a wise and prudent use of limited state resources. Given this program’s failure to change teen pregnancy rates in the respective communities, and the lack of a strong ongoing program evaluation, the administration believes there is a better use for these monies and other evidence-based methods that may find greater success.” (The only statistics I found to verify this reasoning show that teen pregnancy rates are in fact dropping throughout the state as a whole; if anyone knows where I can find statistics on the affected areas, please share in the comments.)
That last part, the “other evidence-based methods that may find greater success” part, sounds like they would be willing to implement a different program with a proven background of success at preventing teen pregnancies. I seriously doubt they would actually implement a new program though. McDonnell has proven that he doesn’t care about the needs of people who can become pregnant by signed the ridiculously stringent abortion facility regulations last year; regulations which have the potential to close most (or all) of the abortion providers in the state. So not only does he not care about protecting the health and well-being of Virginian’s after they get pregnant, he is now showing he doesn’t really care to help make sure Virginians don’t get pregnant either. Good job Governor McDonnell!