Trump Cuts Key Teen Program Without Warning

“Both HHS Secretary Tom Price and Vice President Mike Pence strongly support abstinence only education.”

In a surprising about face, the Trump Administration has cut funding for programs that are aimed at ending teen pregnancy. The funding was given via 5-year grants under the creation of The Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP). The funds were given to organizations whose purpose was on reaching populations with the greatest need.

The Program

The Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP) is a national program that was created by President Barack Obama in 2010. The goal of the program is to fund programs that help to end teen pregnancy, and that specifically serve the populations in the greatest need.

The Baltimore City Health Department runs one of the programs funded by the TPPP. The overall teen birth rate in Baltimore is three times higher than the national average. The program aims to reduce that rate.

The Baltimore program stands to lose $3.5 million in grant funding over two years as a result of the Trump administration cuts. The reduction translates to 20,000 fewer students being given access to reproductive health education and other services.

Dr, Leana Wen is the Baltimore City Health Commissioner, she said, “We don’t have another way to fill this deficit. This will leave a huge hole in our ability to deliver health education.”

The Cuts

The TPPP issued five-year grants beginning in 2010, those grants renewed in 2015 and are set to expire, or be renewed again in 2020. Instead, the HHS under President Trump has informed the programs that their funding will end in 2018. The news comes as a shock and is hugely damaging to the programs that count on the funding to continue operations.

Dr. Wen of Baltimore said, “There was no communication about the reason. The notice of the award just stated that instead of a five-year grant, it is now a three-year grant.” Current grantees have been notified their programs will end June 30, 2018.

There has been little to no explanation offered by the administration for why the programs have been cut. Some suggest that the cuts may signal a change in direction by this administration. Under former President Obama the HHS approved 44 pregnancy prevention programs, only 3 of those programs were abstinence only education.

Both HHS Secretary Tom Price and Vice President Mike Pence strongly support abstinence only education and oppose any other efforts to curtail teen pregnancy.

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