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Teen pregnancy cost to state taxpayers: $7.6 billion

Michigan Government
Teen childbearing cost Michigan taxpayers about $308 million in 2008.

An organization that works to prevent teen pregnancy says steady progress has been made over the past couple of decades. But also it says the cost of teen pregnancy remains high, socially and fiscally. 

More than 260,000 teenage girls gave birth in Michigan between 1991 and 2008.

The cost to state taxpayers was about $7.6 billion, according to The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

"I think it shows how important prevention is," says Shannon Felgner, who's with the Ottawa County Health Department. "It's not just an 'oops,' it's not just another teen mom. It really affects everyone in our community."

Felgner says the cost to taxpayers includes welfare systems, increased rates of incarceration and decreased earning and spending potential of teens and their children.

The good news, Felgner says, is that there was a 44% decline in the teen birthrate over the past  20 years.

She says the key to preventing teen pregnancy lies with parents talking to their children early and often about sex, birth control and healthy relationships.