From the Office of State Senator Leticia Van de Putte

For Immediate Release
February 2, 2009
Contact: Kathryn Freeman, (512) 463-0126

Van de Putte and Villarreal Team Up to Prevent Teen and Unintended Pregnancies

(SAN ANTONIO, TX) — Senator Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio) and Representative Mike Villarreal (D-San Antonio), jointly filed legislation aimed at reducing the teen birth rate in Bexar County and across Texas. According to the Centers for Disease Control, Texas has the third highest teen birth rate in the nation, with 63 births for every 1,000 female teens ages 15-19. This is more than 50 percent higher than the national average.

"This is one list where being near the top is not good for Texas, the teen birth rate in this state is shameful. We cannot shy away from addressing this difficult topic and implementing policies aimed at combating these disturbing statistics," said Van de Putte.

SB 592 would allow 16 and 17 year olds who have already had one child to have access to family planning counseling & services, except related to abortion or emergency contraception.

SB 593 expands CHIP to provide comprehensive family planning services, except related to abortion or emergency contraception, to teens ages 16 and 17 years who have at least one child.

In addition to the rising number of teen pregnancies, more than 45% of Texas births result from unplanned pregnancies, with 58% of those births are among uninsured women.

SB 594 is designed to increase the effectiveness of the Women's Health Program (WHP), by providing sufficient resources to increase WHP marketing & outreach to eligible women and ensuring a smooth transition for women who have given birth through the Medicaid program into the WHP without a gap in services.

"A healthy pregnancy and baby start with a healthy mother. When mothers have access to family planning counseling and services, they are better prepared to raise healthy families. Our state's first priority must be to help our mom's plan healthy pregnancies," said Villarreal. Rep. Villarreal has filed identical versions of these bills in the House; they are HB 891, HB 892 and HB 893.