In a bid to find common ground in the contentious abortion debate, the federal government on Wednesday awarded $27 million to a host of state programs aimed at assisting pregnant teenagers and young parents.
These grants will offer states and Indian tribes "much needed assistance to support vulnerable teens and women who are pregnant and parenting," said Health and Human Services
Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "With this funding, states will link these families to health education, child care, and other supports that can help brighten the future of parents and their children."
Specifically, the Pregnancy Assistance Fund money is supposed to help pregnant women and teen parents finish high school, get child care, health care and housing. The money can also be used to combat violence against moms and pregnant women.
Programs in 20 states
and the District of Columbia that are run through the states or tribal organizations qualified for the aid. Minnesota topped the list with $2.2 million, followed by Indiana and Washington at $2 million.
The federal fund follows on remarks President Obama made in a speech at Notre Dame last year when he said the nation must begin reducing unintended pregnancies, make adoptions more available, and provide "care and support for women who do carry their child to term." Obama's appearance at the renowned Catholic University was roundly criticized by anti-abortion groups because the president backs abortions rights.
"Pro-life and pro-choice people have gotten behind it so it's a good first step at reducing abortion and providing support for healthier babies and mothers," Kirsten Day, head of Democrats for Life of America
last July. "Once we show how effective this is, we can go back and expand the program."