Trump Abruptly Cuts Funding For Teen Pregnancy Program

 

The stupidity coming out of this administration is astounding.


Inexplicably, the Trump administration has decided to prematurely end grant programs for the prevention of teen pregnancy.

On Friday, The Hill reported,

“An office within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) notified 81 institutions across the U.S. that the five-year grants they were awarded would end two years sooner than planned.

The Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP), a national program created in 2010 under former President Barack Obama, funds organizations working to reduce and prevent teen pregnancy, with a focus on reaching populations with the greatest need.

But HHS informed the recipients in their annual grant award letters that programs would end next year rather than in 2020, a cut of about $200 million over two years.”


TPPP is currently doing great work and funding programs in 39 states across the country. The Baltimore City Health Department runs one of the initiatives. The city’s Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen said about the abrupt cut to Baltimore’s program,

“There was no communication about the reason. The notice of the award just stated that instead of a five-year grant, it is now a three-year grant.”

She added,

“We don’t have another way to fill this deficit. This will leave a huge hole in our ability to deliver health education.”

Baltimore’s teen birth rate is three times higher than the national average. Clearly this is a community that really needs a program like TPPP. But the Baltimore program will now lose $3.5 million in grant funding. That means that 20,000 fewer teens will have access to services offered by the program including reproductive health education.

The Trump administration gave very little explanation for the change in policy other than to say that they’re looking for a “better fit for [their] priorities.” Your guess is as good as mine for whatever that means.

Research has proven that abstinence-only education does not cause abstinence behavior. In fact, teens in states that focus more on abstinence education are actually more likely to become pregnant, studies show us.

The new chief of staff to the assistant secretary of health, Valerie Huber, is a huge advocate for abstinence-only. And she happens to be the person who oversees the pregnancy prevention program. Huber, along with many others in the Trump administration, believes that it is actually sex education that causes teen pregnancies.

She said,

“Policymakers finally have an opportunity to give American youth the reinforcement they need to continue to make healthy choices – and to normalize sexual delay for all teens and especially for those teens who currently feel pressured to have sex by social media, their favorite music – or their sex education classes.”

I don’t know if this is just another case of Trump’s jealousy and obsession with destroying everything that Obama did, or if this is some kind of ignorant and short-sighted plan to push abstinence-only. But either way it is ridiculous.

 

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