We Are Power to Decide


We Are Power to Decide

by Ginny Ehrlich, CEO
December 4, 2017
A woman jumps for joy in a field with the sun behind her

We believe in young people. We believe in their dreams, the goals they set, the way they intend to live their lives. We believe that nothing should stand in their way. That’s why we are committed to ensuring that every young person has the power to decide if, when, and under what circumstances to get pregnant.

Power to decide is our vision, our promise to young people, and our invitation to all who support their success. Today, it also becomes our name. We are Power to Decide.

Our commitment to ensuring access to relevant, resonant, and quality information and the full range of contraceptive options has not changed since we were founded more than 20 years ago as The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. We remain non-partisan, grounded in common sense, based in research and evidence of what works, and ready to meet young people where they are.

None of that has changed. But let’s face it: our old name was a mouthful. And while it described our goals and work, what really inspires us is the “why” behind our work. By ensuring that young people have the power to decide if and when to get pregnant, we help them keep their pathways to opportunity open.

Working toward that “why,” we have strategically adjusted the way we work over the years as times, situations, and needs have changed. Consider this: Unplanned pregnancy rates have dropped significantly since we began, and the majority of young people say they don’t want to get pregnant at this point in their life. But lack of consistent access to birth control threatens this progress and undermines young people’s intentions. And young women of color and women who live at or below the poverty line are more likely to experience an unplanned pregnancy than women in general. This work is no less urgent than it was 20 year ago. It just looks a little different and requires a modified approach.

In response, we have sharpened our focus on opportunity and empowerment. We’re continuing to develop and share trusted, non-judgmental resources that meet young people where they are. We’re shining a light into every community, looking for contraceptive deserts, places where the power to decide is weak and opportunity is stagnant. We have doubled down on our commitment to ensuring that all young people—no matter who they are, where the live, or how much they or their families earn—have the power to decide if and when to get pregnant. That they are connected to a champion, ally, or social network where they can discuss sex, relationships, and their futures. That when they say they don’t intend to get pregnant right now, they are taking the steps to make that intention their reality.

We can’t do this alone. It will take a movement driven by young people, their champions and mentors, policymakers, the media, and so many others. So we asked you—the people who count on us, work alongside us, and generously fund our work—how to describe what we’re creating together. Hundreds of thousands of you weighed in and overwhelmingly guided us toward Power to Decide as the name that best fits who we are and what we do.

We hope you’ll embrace it, demand it, and even wear it. Together, we can give every young person the power to decide.