It’s almost as if Donald Trump is constantly trying to better his own record for making women’s lives as difficult and uncomfortable as possible each week.
Just days after he was caught on camera making a sexist remark about French First Lady Brigitte Macron’s appearance, his administration has announced $213.6million of funding cuts to educational programs designed to reduce rates of teenage pregnancy.
Under Obama’s administration, the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, which was started in 2010, saw the birth rate for 15- to 17-year-olds drop by 72 per cent by 2014. Because of these results, five-year grants were given to organisations that ran prevention programs, which included STI testing, teaching young people about proper methods of contraception and even offering family planning-based counselling.
Sadly, 81 of those highly effective groups received a letter from the federal Office of Adolescent Health this week, giving them notice that their funding will end in 2018.
So, what’s Trump going to do with all that extra money? Fund abstinence-only programs, of course – and spend an extra $64million doing so, too. Those of us who aren’t fundamental, anti-abortion nutters will be quick to point out that this decision was not based on scientific research and ignores the extensive research gathered by experts over the last seven years. It was abstinence-only programs that led to massive teen pregnancy rates in the first place. Now, they are being brought back with renewed vigour, and it makes absolutely no sense.
Ginny Elrich, CEO of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy certainly echoed our sentiment.
“These programs have historically contributed to the nation’s rates of teen childbearing and unplanned pregnancy plummeting,” she said. “So why mess with success? These funding cuts are short-sighted and will harm millions of women and youth — especially our most vulnerable youth.”
Speaking to Reveal, Pat Paluzzi, the CEO of US organisation Healthy Teen Network, said:
“They don’t like to deal with the sexual reproductive health of teens. They frame it in this country as moral issues. Public health issues shouldn’t be political issues.”
Scaring teens out of having sex only leads to unsafe sex and bad feelings towards sex. Coupled with increasing state restrictions on safe abortions, and women’s health in the US is heading into an extremely dark period.