Trump administration looks to cut funds for pregnancy prevention programs

President Donald Trump's administration is slated to end a program that funds projects aimed at preventing teenage pregnancy, reports The New York Times.

The Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, started under former President Barack Obama, would be cut in the White House's proposed budget. TPPP funds projects that don't solely focus on abstinence, but also teach about contraception and sexually transmitted diseases, according to the report.

Congress would still have to agree to the proposed budget. However, HHS has already declared it plans to end annual teen pregnancy prevention grants of $89 million to more than 80 organizations two years early — in June of next year, reports NYT. HHS attributed the decision to "very weak evidence of positive impact of these programs."

Mark Vafiades, an HHS spokesperson, told NYT the goal with the funding cut is to ensure "the program provides youth with the information and skills they need to avoid the many risks associated with teen sex." The report notes it is unclear if abstinence-only programs will once again be implemented by HHS.

But not everyone is on board. In a July letter to HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD, health commissioners from large U.S. cities said cutting funding for teen pregnancy prevention programs "will end important prevention programs and research projects already underway."

"As you well know, many of these awards now slated to end two years early are funding rigorous — and needed — evaluation research meant to insure that programs in local communities across the country are as effective as they can possibly be and identify best, innovative practices for moving forward," the letter reads.

The health commissioners added the U.S. has seen a significant decline in teen pregnancy — to about 20.3 births per 1,000 15-to-19-year-old girls last year — but said the rate "is still substantially higher than other industrialized nations. Additionally, racial/ethnic and geographic disparities in teen birth rates persist, many of which occur in our jurisdictions."

 

More articles on population health:
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Johns Hopkins receives $300M federal grant to expand public health initiatives in developing countries
Cleveland Clinic launches Center for Men's Health

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