Trump Administration Abruptly Cuts Off Teen Pregnancy Prevention Funding

Modesto Morganelli
Luglio 17, 2017

Evidence shows that teen pregnancy rates fall when kids have access to comprehensive sex education, yet this week, the Trump administration cut over $200 million in funds for teen pregnancy prevention programs.

Leaders at the Department of Health and Human Services, who have publicly favored an abstinence-based approach to sex education, sent letters to recipients to inform them of their decision to end funding early on the five-year grants, which go to 81 organizations around the country, according to the reports. Along with potentially having major repercussions for teens around the country, Trump's recent cuts could have a major impact on the nation's teen pregnancy rate, which continues to remain higher than those of many other developed nations. The White House has quietly cut $213.6 million in funding to prevent teen pregnancy, according to a Reveal report from the Center for Investigative Reporting. One program, for example, offered by the Chicago Department of Public Health, provided STI testing and counseling services to teens. By 2014, the birth rate for teenagers between 15 and 17 was down 72% since 1991. "Still, the USA teen pregnancy rate is substantially higher than in other western industrialized nations", the CDC notes on its website, meaning there's still more room for improvement. They also include research projects that won't have time to be completed, rendering the data they've collected pointless. It's a massive blow to crucial funding for a health issue that now goes against the vehemently pro-life administration, which includes the Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, who once said there are literally no women who can not afford birth control and that funding for birth control "is a trampling on religious freedom and religious liberty in this country".

This is part of a larger Trump administration effort to make sex education exclusively abstinence-only, Pat Paluzzi, president and CEO of Healthy Teen Network, told Reveal.

Trump, though, wants to fund abstinence-only programs - to the tune of $277 million - despite the fact that teen pregnancy rates are highest in states that teach abstinence-only, and the US has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the developed world.

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