Connecticut officials criticize ending of Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program

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Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin joined others to call on the Trump Administration to reverse its decision to eliminate the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

Last week Connecticut Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal and Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin joined others to call on the Trump Administration to reverse its decision to eliminate the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program.

“The Trump administration is putting an extreme ideological agenda ahead of the wellbeing of women and girls in Hartford and around the country,” Bronin said.

Bronin said the program has seen tremendously successful results in Hartford with teen pregnancies decreasing by 50 percent since the program’s inception eight years ago.

A study by the CDC found that birth rates among teens fell by 41 percent between 2006 and 2014. The impact was even more significant for Latinas, who saw a 51 percent decrease, and black women, whose teen birth rates decreased by 44 percent compared to 35 percent for white female teens.

 “The Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program is essential to communities like Hartford,” Hartford Representative John Larson said.  “…We shouldn’t be cutting programs that have proven to be successful in our communities based on ideological beliefs.”

The program implements evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs, builds the capacity of youth-serving organizations to implement, evaluate and sustain such programs, support technology and program-based innovations with promising approaches to preventing teen pregnancies and continuously and rigorously evaluate new approaches to preventing teen pregnancy, its website says.

Internal notes obtained by NBC news reveal that the discussion around ending the program did not include experts from the Office of Adolescent Health. The then-chief of staff for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health, Valerie Huber, her deputy chief of staff, Steven Valentine and the former head of Health and Human Services’ family planning programs, Teresa Manning were the appointees who shaped the decision.

“Three people appointed by the Trump administration shouldn’t be able to force their beliefs or political agendas on people in Connecticut or anywhere else in this country,” Murphy said. “I will do everything I can to stop this latest effort by the Trump administration to sabotage health care.”

The administration announced the end of the program, which was originally renewed through 2020, last year. This means the program will now end in June of this year.

The $213 million cut would take $1 million annually from Hartford, the press release said. The city filed an administrative appeal but has yet to receive a decision from the Office of Adolescent Health.

“Eliminating funding based on dangerous alternative facts and against the wishes of career experts at the Department of Health and Human Services is a shameful disgrace,” Blumenthal said. 


Anna Zarra Aldrich is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at anna.aldrich@uconn.edu. She tweets @ZarraAnna.

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