Last week, the Trump administration unveiled an initiative to “improve teen pregnancy prevention and sexual risk avoidance programs.” The goal, according to the announcement from the Department of Health and Human Services, was to “help improve our children’s future.” This goal is so important that the agency is spending $10 million to reach it.
Here’s what HHS didn’t say: That $10 million was a mere distraction to make people forget that the Trump administration thus summer abruptly cut off more than $200 million in funding for 81 existing teen pregnancy prevention programs. That move wrecked programs from coast to coast that in some cases had been functioning for years.
The scientific evidence has pointed against Valerie Huber’s belief in abstinence-only education. This signals her desire to bend the research to her liking.
One other important point: “Sexual risk avoidance” is code for “abstinence.” It’s the term preferred by Ascend, the abstinence-only advocacy group formerly headed by Valerie Huber, who was appointed chief of staff to the assistant secretary for Health at HHS on June 5. Another point: Abstinence-only teen pregnancy programs consistently have been shown not to work.
The Trump administration shut down funding for teen pregnancy programs in July, but it has refused to deliver an explanation of its move since.