Recent studies have linked preventing unintended pregnancy as a strategy for helping Americans move out of poverty and for creating opportunity. Three factors in particular, have strong connections to rates of unintended pregnancy: education, poverty, and access to health care (specifically contraception). Unintended pregnancy is highest among poor and low-income women, women aged 18-24, cohabiting women, minority women, and women without a high school education.
The Uplifting Families Project will target women aged 18-29; and aims to examine the existing conditions in Mecklenburg County related to unintended pregnancy prevention, build our local trained workforce to address the issue, and provide a detailed set of next steps to be taken on collectively, to impact unintended pregnancy rates in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area. This project will energize communities to acknowledge and own the public health problem and prompt increased awareness and interest in the solution.
This project is unique for a number of reasons. However and most importantly, it will entail a true public-private partnership, will involve a large number of both local and national partners, and will exist in the framework of a larger effort to increase opportunity for all in Mecklenburg County. The intersection of unplanned pregnancy prevention efforts with a larger community-based effort already in place around opportunity and social mobility, is a frame that is gaining national momentum.
In order for Charlotte-Mecklenburg to experience sustained success, addressing barriers across Policy, System/Environment, and Health Behavior is essential. Strong institutional voices advocating for this issue must emerge from within. With the help of our partners, here we stand.