The Trump administration has cut $213.6 million in teen pregnancy and STI prevention programs across the U.S., affecting many vulnerable populations.
According to Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) quietly ended Obama-era grants given to over 80 institutions in a multi-pronged approach to curb the country’s high teen pregnancy rate—which currently affects one in four teens. Cut services include education for indigenous teens, guidance for foster care kids, STI testing, and workshops for parents and children to communicate.
The grants were awarded in 2015 and were supposed to go through 2020, but will now cease in June 2018. A separate $2.9 million grant for funding for programs at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, the University of Michigan, the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute, EngenderHealth in New York, and Youth Catalytics in Vermont was ended effectively immediately.
According to Reveal, several groups were told by officials at HHS’s Office of Adolescent Health last week that the cuts came from the office of the assistant secretary of health, Valerie Huber, who Trump just appointed last month.
When asked for comment, an HHS spokesperson told Reveal: “All of these grantees were given a project end date of June 30, 2018, allowing the grantees an opportunity to adjust their program and plan for an orderly close out.”
The head of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, has been a vocal pro-abstinence, anti-birth control advocate, while the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress have shown in policy and healthcare replacement drafts that they are against funding women’s healthcare.
Pat Paluzzi of the Healthy Teen Network in Baltimore, whose app designed to answer teens’ health questions will be affected, told Reveal, “They don’t like to deal with the sexual reproductive health of teens. They frame it in this country as moral issues. Public health issues shouldn’t be political issues.”