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MAYOR BRONIN HOSTED STATE AND LOCAL LEADERS TO CALL ON TRUMP ADMINISTRATION TO REVERSE $213 MILLION IN CUTS TO TEEN PREGNANCY PREVENTION PROGRAMS

MAYOR BRONIN HOSTED STATE AND LOCAL LEADERS TO CALL ON TRUMP ADMINISTRATION TO REVERSE $213 MILLION IN CUTS TO TEEN PREGNANCY PREVENTION PROGRAMS

 

HARTFORD, CONN (August 24, 2017) – Today, Mayor Luke Bronin hosted Senator Richard Blumenthal, Congressman John Larson, Connecticut Department of Public Health Commissioner Raul Pino, State Representative Angel Arce, State Representative Brandon McGee, City Council President Thomas “TJ” Clarke II, City Councilman Larry Deutsch, City of Hartford staff,  Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, and the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund to call on the Trump administration to reverse its decision to discontinue a teen pregnancy prevention grant, effectively cutting $213 million in funding nationwide, including $1 million annually to Hartford.  That money represents the only current funding for teen pregnancy prevention in Hartford.  The City has filed an administrative appeal of the Trump administration’s decision, arguing that it is illegal.

 

“Hartford’s teen pregnancy prevention initiatives have been incredibly successful, reducing teen birth rates by more than fifty percent compared to their high point more than two decades ago,” said Mayor Bronin.  “Reducing the teen pregnancy rate increases the chances that young people finish school, pursue higher education, and find stable employment – in fact, less than two percent of teen mothers finish college by age 30.  The Trump administration’s decision to discontinue this incredibly effective approach is breathtakingly irresponsible and contradicts both common-sense and the evidence about how to reduce teen pregnancy.”

 

"The City of Hartford has been on the forefront of preventing teen pregnancy,” said U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal.  “It is an absolute travesty to eliminate funds for the Hartford Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative – a program that has produced extraordinary results – in order to appeal to the far right of the Republican Party.  I call on the Trump administration to stop playing politics with the lives of women and children."

 

“I’d like to thank Mayor Bronin, the City of Hartford, and our dedicated community partners for standing up for this essential program that educates our young people and helps them take charge of their own reproductive health and futures,” said U.S. Rep. John Larson.  “It is outrageous that the administration has bypassed the congressional budget process and without cause slashed funding for grants already awarded.  As someone who has pushed for better family and youth services my entire career, including as president of the State Senate, I will work bipartisanly in Congress to preserve this essential funding in the upcoming budget.”

 

"We are committed to providing a high-quality education to all of our students.  We recognize that in order to put our children on a path to success we must meet their social and emotional needs as well,” said Superintendent of Hartford Public Schools, Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez.  “Ensuring that our students get responsible, evidence-based health education is an important part of our mission, and we’ve established a strong partnership with the City and community groups to help us do that.  These cuts to teen pregnancy prevention funding are an unnecessary setback that will leave young people less prepared to make decisions that are right for them at a critical time in their lives.”

 

“We are honored to be a partner in the Hartford Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, which has worked tirelessly to reduce teen births and unplanned pregnancies in our communities,” said Kafi Rouse, Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing with Planned Parenthood of Southern New England.  “All young people have the right to comprehensive sex education that gives them the information and skills they need to stay safe and healthy.  Planned Parenthood is proud to provide comprehensive sex education and health care services that help teens plan their future and prevent unintended pregnancies and STIs.  Regardless of what happens in Washington, we remain committed to continuing this vital work in Hartford.”

 

In 2010, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) Program, a five-year grant to organizations around the country, including the City of Hartford, to reduce teen pregnancy.  The City and its community partners, including those at the press conference today, launched the Hartford Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative.  Hartford aimed to reduce the teen birth rate by 10% by the end of the grant.  One year before the grant ended, Hartford had exceeded that goal, cutting the teen birth rate by more than 40% compared to the rate prior to the grant.

 

In 2015, HHS announced the second round of the TPP Program, and Hartford was once again a recipient.  Hartford aimed to cut the teen birth rate by another 10% by 2020.  But this July, HHS announced the 2015 grant would end two years early, effectively cutting $213 million from teen pregnancy programs across America.  This decision comes after decades of progress nationwide in reducing teen birth rates.  Since 1991, the teen birth rate in the United States has declined by nearly 60%.  

 

Losing this grant funding means Hartford teens will not receive valuable health education and City staff and community partners will lose out on training about best practices in health education.

 

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