President Clinton on Saturday announced a new national strategy to reduce teenage pregnancies through federal programs built around the unifying theme of encouraging adolescents to abstain from sex.
At the same time, the president cited new figures pointing to a drop of more than 10 percent in teen birth rates in 10 states and took some credit for the reduction.
“In just four years … we have replaced political rhetoric with a strategy of giving people the tools to solve their problems and demanding responsibility from all of our citizens,” Clinton said in his weekly radio address, which he recorded while on vacation here.
The president added that the good news about teen pregnancy should give the country new hope that other seemingly intractable social problems can be successfully addressed.
The president stressed that the teen birth rate is still “intolerably high.” Each year, 200,000 teens age 17 and younger have children, many from unwanted pregnancies.
Clinton’s strategy fulfills a requirement in the welfare legislation passed by Congress last year that requires the government to come up with a plan to reduce teen births by the first of this year. The new plan includes:
Providing $7.5 million for pioneering local programs that teach young people to postpone sex.
Studying existing programs to determine which are most effective, and then spreading the news about the best programs nationwide.
Executing provisions of the welfare law that require teen mothers to stay in school and live at home in order to receive federal assistance.
Improving research to track teen pregnancy trends.