POWER TO DECIDES URGES THE IMMEDIATE REAUTHORIZATION OF THE PREGNANCY ASSISTANCE FUND
(Washington, D.C.) — On July 25, Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced a bill (S. 2296) to reauthorize the Pregnancy Assistance Fund (PAF) at its current funding level of $25 million annually for five years. Without the reauthorization, the program will expire in September. PAF is the only federal program targeted to meet the unique needs of youth who are pregnant and parenting, including support for pregnant women harmed by sexual violence. Since PAF began in 2010, 32 states and seven tribal entities have provided critical supports to more than 94,000 youth who are pregnant and parenting and pregnant women.
Through competitive grants to states and tribal entities, PAF provides seamless support services to youth who are pregnant and parenting and/or pregnant women who have experienced sexual violence. Participants receive a wide range of support services related to personal health, child health, parenting, education and employment, as well as concrete supports like diapers and baby equipment. Grantees can also use funds to improve services for pregnant women who have experienced sexual violence, and increase awareness concerning the services available to the program’s beneficiaries.
“We commend Senators Murkowski and Casey for their bipartisan leadership in introducing legislation to reauthorize the Pregnancy Assistance Fund,” said Ginny Ehrlich, CEO, Power to Decide. “The Pregnancy Assistance Fund provides critical funding for support services for pregnant and parenting high school and college students and their children so that they can fulfill their goals and live their best lives.”
State and tribal PAF-funded efforts have yielded positive outcomes, including improvements in high school graduation rates, increased participation in postsecondary education and reductions in subsequent unintended pregnancies as compared to youth who are pregnant and parenting who did not receive services through the PAF program.
“There is clear evidence that the Pregnancy Assistance Fund has contributed to the educational success of young parents and to ensuring they have the supports they need to achieve their goals for the future,” continued Ehrlich. “We urge Congress to quickly reauthorize this program before it expires in September.”
Power to Decide is a private, non-partisan, non-profit organization that works to ensure all people—no matter who they are, where they live or what their economic status might be—have the power to decide if, when and under what circumstances to get pregnant and have a child. Please visit us at www.PowerToDecide.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.