The Department of Health and Human Services has announced they are cutting off funding for an Obama-era initiative, the Teen Pregnancy Prevention program. The end comes two years early for the education program, which was previously given a grant through June 2020. The move has baffled the 81 grant recipients across 39 states, as there has been little explanation for the $200 million cut.
Democrats in Congress were also confused, since the action was never announced or debated, and comes before Congress has even begun 2018 budget appropriations. HHS, of course, answers directly to Donald Trump. Democrats in both chambers sent letters to Health Secretary Tom Price asking for an explanation. From the Senate letter:
This action is short-sighted and puts at risk the health and well-being of women and our most vulnerable youth who depend on the evidenced-based work that TPP Program grantees are doing across the nation.”
What small explanation the groups did receive was included in the notifications for their grant cuts, saying that Trump’s HHS was looking for programs that aligned better with Administration priorities. According to The Hill, a spokesman for the assistant health secretary noted the programs were not funded in Trump’s own budget proposal, and cited lack of efficacy in the programs:
Given the very weak evidence of positive impact of these programs, the Trump administration, in its FY 2018 budget proposal did not recommend continued funding for the [TPPP].”
But that’s contrary to the facts. Teen pregnancy is at an all-time low, including a sharp decrease after 2010, when Obama’s program began.
Unfortunately, Tom Price is a supporter of abstinence-only sex education, and he’s far from alone in this Administration. Vice President Mike Pence is also strongly against traditional sex ed. So is Valerie Huber, a minor celebrity among abstinence-only advocates who was appointed less than a week ago to a post as chief of staff to the assistant secretary of HHS.
In his eagerness to undo everything Obama accomplished, Trump is doing what he’s always done best: Take something successful and completely screw it up.
Featured image via Win McNamee/Getty Images