Tell your Senator: Protect Virginia’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative!

The Virginia General Assembly is back in Richmond this week for a special session to resume work on the budget, and there was some tentative good news today as the Senate Finance Committee advanced their version of the state’s two-year budget — but your legislators need to hear from you now to make sure it becomes a reality!

As you may remember, Governor Bob McDonnell’s version of the budget, introduced in January, proposed eliminating all state funding for Virginia’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative programs. The Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, or TPPI, funds programs in seven health districts throughout the state with high rates of pregnancy among teenagers, including Alexandria, Petersburg, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Richmond, Roanoke, and the Eastern Shore. These programs provide sex education, information and resources on health and wellness, and access to contraception for thousands of Virginia young people.

The governor’s proposed budget eliminated all $455,000 in remaining state funding for TPPI programs, after the program’s funding was already slashed in his first two years in office.

Due to our advocacy and pressure by pro-choice legislators in the General Assembly, however, the version of the budget advanced by the Senate Finance Committee today does include restored funding for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative! If this ends up in the final budget approved by the Governor, it would be great news for the thousands of teens throughout Virginia who are served by this program and receive the knowledge and resources they need to protect their health and prevent unintended pregnancy.

The full Virginia Senate is expected to vote on their version of the budget plan this coming Monday, March 26th. Please contact your Senator today and let them know that preserving strong funding in the budget for Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative programs is important to you!

You can find your state Senator and their contact information here.   Email or call their office today and urge them to support funding for teen pregnancy prevention initiatives in the budget plan!

(Once you’ve done that, please share this post and urge your friends and neighbors to do the same!)

A Critical Time to Pay Congress a Visit

By Brett Copeland

League of Young Leaders Co-Chair

No deal: It’s what we heard on Tuesday as House Leadership left the White House. We are coming down to zero-hour on the budget (or at least until the next Continuing Resolution). House Republicans have made it clear they’re willing to slash and burn whatever they can—no matter how many women and families it harms.

So, Pro-Choice Lobby Day on Capitol Hill comes at a critical time. Anti-choice leaders have moved not only to defund Planned Parenthood but also totally eliminate valuable Title X funding for family planning services. With more of the budget on the chopping block, there’s no telling what’s next.

That’s why a coalition of Pro-Choice supporters will be in the halls of Congress, talking to Representatives, Senators and their staff. We must ensure that our voice is heard loud and clear by anti-choice lawmakers who have shown they will say and do almost anything to erode fundamental reproductive human rights (including subjecting survivors of rape and incest who choose abortion care to audits by the Internal Revenue Service).

So what can you do?

If you’re in DC, Virginia or Maryland and can take off work, there’s still time to register to lobby. We’ll have on-site training as well as events throughout the day to keep you fed and on the move.

If you’re in DC, Virginia or Maryland and can’t take off work, you can always join us during our lunchtime rally on the National Mall.

But don’t worry—if you can’t do either of those things, but still want to help, visit NARAL Pro-Choice America’s Webpage—you can help sponsor our efforts on Lobby Day, make calls from home or, heck, buy a t-shirt.

We would also love to have you join us at our League of Young Leaders (LoYL) happy hour following lobby day. RSVP to get the full details.

The more people we have standing up and declaring that we’re Pro-Choice and proud of it, the better chance we’ll have at making an impact.

I’ll be there.

Will you?