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Texas Matters: Cutting Teen Pregnancy Funds And Looking For Maternal Mortality Answers

Segment #1

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently began notifying teen pregnancy institutions that their federal funds are being cut to the tune of about $200 million.

Many of these programs were awarded five-year grants during the Obama administration but now, they are told one year of funding remains.

Texas has the highest number of teen parents in the nation and the state has the fifth highest rate of teen pregnancy. Texas is also number one for repeat teen pregnancies.

The North Texas Alliance to Reduce Unintended Pregnancy in Texas, or NTARUPT, is one of the many outfits in Texas losing federal dollars. 

Segment #2 

The maternal mortality rate in the United States might shock you. It's the highest in the developed world, taking the lives of an estimated 700 to 900 women in 2016 alone.  This number is an estimate because maternal mortality is hard to pin down. Health care providers are reluctant to identify motherhood as a cause of death.

Texas’s maternal mortality rate doubled from 2010 to 2014, according to a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. Those statistics make Texas the leader in maternal death in the nation. Sixty percent of these deaths are preventable.

Propublica and NPR are teaming up to do a deep dive into the maternal mortality crisis.

They trying to figure out why the U.S. maternal mortality rate is so high and more importantly, they're attempting to identify all of the victims.

Segment #3

Another contributing factor to the maternal mortality crisis is our national problem with substance abuse. In San Antonio, the front line in the fight against addiction is the "sobering unit" – also known as the drunk tank.

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi