San Antonio City Council found itself embroiled in the culture wars yet again today, when council voted to approve a plan designed to cut the city's still alarmingly high teen birth rate, 1200 WOAI news reports.
Several speakers said city tax money should not be used for contraception or birth control, and said any program of this type should advocate sexual abstinence only.
The Metro Health District told City Council that in 2012, 2755 babies were born in unmarried mothers between the ages of 15 and 19, and 610 of those were the young teen's second baby.
San Antonio's birth rate for women 15-19 was 41.8 per 1,000, 46% higher than the national rate.
According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, the 2012 cost to taxpayers of teen childbearing in San Antonio was $59.6 million in child welfare, health care, lost revenue, and incarceration. By the year 2017, 125 kindergarten classes will be filled with the children of teen parents.
A Community Survey conducted last year revealed that San Antonians think teen pregnancy is the number one concern among fifteen community issues studied.
The program approved by City Council will allow the Metro Health District to provide funding to the University Health System for the implementation of an 'adolescent health services project for the prevention of teen pregnancy in San Antonio.'
The program will include contraceptives, but will not include abortion.
The council approved the proposal 10-1, with newly minted north east side Councilman Michael Gallagher voting no.