The Trump administration has quietly eliminated $213.6 million in grants for teen pregnancy prevention programs and research, according to a report by the Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal.
Programs at more than 80 institutions around the country received notice from the Office of Adolescent Health at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that their grant funding would end two years early.
Jennifer Hettema, an associate research professor at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, where researchers have used the funding to help doctors communicate more effectively with Native American and Latino teens about avoiding pregnancy, told Reveal that her organization is shocked by the administration’s decision.
“We are just reeling. We’re not sure how we’ll adapt,” Hettema said.
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The elimination of the grants for teen pregnancy prevention is just the latest move by the Trump administration to reject evidence-based science and embrace ideologically driven policies designed to erode reproductive rights.
The Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) program was established in 2010 by the Obama administration as part of an effort to implement evidence-based programs to reduce teen pregnancy. The teen birth rate has steadily declined over the past decade, but the decline has been sharper since the implementation of TPP.
Valerie Huber, a leader of the abstinence-only-until-marriage movement, was recently appointed chief of staff to Brett Giroir, nominee for assistant secretary of health. Trump has stacked HHS with people opposed to reproductive rights and contraception access.
Huber is former president of the National Abstinence Education Association, which is now known as Ascend. The group has advocated for the elimination of TPP.