Foster named adviser on teen pregnancy Surgeon general choice failed in abortion dispute

January 30, 1996|By LOS ANGELES TIMESSun staff writer Kerry A. White contributed to this article.

WASHINGTON -- Seven months after his nomination for surgeon general was shot down amid a bitter flap over the number of abortions he had performed, Dr. Henry W. Foster Jr. has resurfaced in a new role at the White House: senior adviser to the president on the issue of teen pregnancy.

In announcing Dr. Foster's appointment, President Clinton praised the Tennessee obstetrician-gynecologist yesterday for dedicating his career "to dealing with this complex, profoundly human problem." Every year, about 1 million American teen-agers become pregnant, a figure that accounts for roughly 11 percent of young women aged 15 to 19. Contrary to popular assumption, however, the national teen pregnancy rate has actually declined slightly in recent years, dropping 4 percent from 1991 to 1993, according to statistics provided by the White House.

As the founder of the successful "I Have a Future" program in Nashville, Tenn., Dr. Foster gained national acclaim for his work in teen pregnancy prevention. Yesterday, as he was announcing Dr. Foster's appointment, Mr. Clinton also announced the creation of the group, called the National Campaign to Reduce Teen Pregnancy.

At the same time, about a dozen local activists from around the country met with the president and Dr. Foster to discuss their community-based efforts to discourage teen-age pregnancy. One of them was Collin Sears, 18, of Baltimore.

Mr. Sears was chosen for his experience in working as a peer counselor for the Health Connection, a Baltimore clinic. The White House has cited the Baltimore clinic as a model for youth outreach.

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