Statement by the President: Teen Birth Rates (8/8/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                                             August 8,

                        STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

     I am very encouraged by new data released today by the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention showing that teen birth rates in the United
States have reached their lowest level since record keeping began 60 years
ago.  These preliminary data for 1999 show that birth rates among 15 to 19
year-olds dropped 3 percent from the previous year and 20 percent from the
most recent peak in 1991.

     This new information confirms that we continue to make impressive
strides in addressing one of the most important social problems facing our
nation.  By enacting welfare reform in 1996, taking executive action to
require young mothers to stay in school or lose welfare payments, cracking
down on child support enforcement, and launching a National Campaign to
Prevent Teen Pregnancy, the Clinton-Gore Administration has sent a clear
message to young women and young men alike: don?t get pregnant or father a
child until you are ready to take on the responsibility of parenthood.
Working in partnership with states, communities, families, religious
leaders, the media, and teens themselves, we have promoted innovative teen
pregnancy prevention strategies that have contributed to the historic
progress we witness today.

     These encouraging trends cut across both younger and older teens,
married and unmarried teens, all states, and all racial and ethnic groups.
The sharpest decline last year was a six percent drop in the birth rate for
American Indian teenagers.  And, since 1991, the African American teen
birth rate has decreased by 30 percent.

     Together, we are helping more young people make responsible choices
and delay parenting until they are financially and emotionally ready.
However, we still have much to do and I urge all sectors of society to
continue their efforts to reduce teen pregnancy even further.  To build on
our progress in breaking the cycle of dependency, I call on Congress to
enact my budget initiative to provide $25 million to support "second chance
homes."  These adult-supervised, supportive living arrangements for teen
parents who cannot live at home offer parenting skills, job counseling,
education and other referrals that help reduce repeat pregnancies and
improve the prospects for young mothers and their children.


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