While the rest of the country talks about health care, the Trump administration just took $214 million out of teen pregnancy prevention programs across the U.S. More than 80 different organizations will soon lose funding due to these deep budget cuts.
These cuts will affect several notable institutions of health around the country, including the Chicago Department of Public Health, the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and Johns Hopkins University.
The Center for Investigative Reporting obtained copies of the grant letters that are sent to these institutions and others every year. This year, the letters stated that funding would stop on June 30, 2018. The letters offered no explanation for this change.
The Obama administration first put these grants in place with a 2020 expiration date. But now, the Trump administration is cutting funding two years ahead of schedule.
“We are just reeling,” said Jennifer Hettema of the University of New Mexico. “We’re not sure how we’ll adapt.” She is the lead researcher on a project that teaches low-income Hispanics and Native American teens about sexual health—a program that won’t survive without funding.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Health and Human Services department has confirmed that the department made these cuts. However, HHS won’t say why they chose to cut funding for these programs, and also has not released any other information about it.
But some of the organizations who received grants claim that the cuts were proposed by Valerie Huber, the new chief of staff to the assistant secretary for health. Huber believes in abstinence-only education, and opposes teaching sexual health awareness in schools.
Huber is the former president and CEO for the National Abstinence Education Association. In her new position, she has much more power to turn her beliefs into policy.
The United States has shockingly high teen pregnancy numbers. In fact, they’re far greater than most other industrialized nations around the world. Right now, the numbers are historically low, and they’ve been on the decline for the last 30 years.
Multiple studies and data confirm that abstinence-only education can actually lead to higher rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
“This program does not fit within the current administration’s vision,” Kelly Wilson was told in her grant letter. She’s the lead researcher for a teen pregnancy prevention program at Texas A&M University. The program just lost $3 million in grant funding.
The rest of the world may be distracted talking about secret Russian meetings and other scandals, but never forget for a moment that Donald Trump is still the president.
And he is still using his office to make huge changes all over this country. These funding cuts will severely restrict teen pregnancy prevention programs all over the U.S. or eliminate them altogether in the next year.
How much more damage will Donald Trump have the chance to cause between now and then?
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