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MAYOR BRONIN, FEDERAL DELEGATION MEMBERS CALL FOR REINSTATEMENT OF TEEN PREGNANCY PREVENTION FUNDS IN LIGHT OF REPORTED POLITICAL INTERFERENCE

MAYOR BRONIN, FEDERAL DELEGATION MEMBERS CALL FOR REINSTATEMENT OF TEEN PREGNANCY PREVENTION FUNDS IN LIGHT OF REPORTED POLITICAL INTERFERENCE

HARTFORD, CONN (March 21, 2018) – Today Mayor Luke Bronin, U.S Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, Congressman John Larson, and Planned Parenthood of Southern New England called on the Trump administration to immediately reverse its decision to eliminate the Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) Program in light of a report that “three [Trump] appointees with strict pro-abstinence beliefs” directed the program’s cancelation, “over the objections of career experts in the Department of Health and Human Services.”

“The Trump administration is putting an extreme ideological agenda ahead of the wellbeing of women and girls, in Hartford and around the country,” said Mayor Bronin.  “The Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program has been incredibly successful at reducing teen birth rates, and in Hartford teen pregnancy has been cut more than 50% in the last eight years.  The evidence is clear that the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program works, and it’s equally clear that the old abstinence-only approach never worked.  We call on the Trump administration to pay attention to the evidence, to the experts, and to the women and girls who now have a brighter future because of this program.  We’re grateful to our federal delegation for working hard to preserve funding for teen pregnancy prevention efforts, and for fighting back against the Trump administration’s ideologically-driven cuts.”

“With Trump’s anti-science activists calling the shots for our nation’s family planning programs, preventing teen pregnancy using evidence-based, scientifically-backed policies has taken a backseat to politics,” said Senator Blumenthal.  “The Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program has proven positive results in Connecticut.  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.”

“The Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Program has worked in Hartford to reduce teenage pregnancies,” said Senator Murphy.  “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.  I will do everything I can to stop this latest effort by the Trump administration to sabotage health care.”

“The Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program is essential to communities like Hartford,” said Congressman Larson.  “Since its inception, the teen pregnancy birth rate dropped by more than 50% in Hartford.   These programs have shown to be effective in cities across the nation – and they serve districts both Democratic and Republican.  This program was cruelly and abruptly cut over the objection of public health experts, with little warning and two years before the five-year program was supposed to end.  I have joined with over 100 of my House colleagues in calling for $130 million in dedicated funding to the TPP Program and continued funding for TPP Program evaluation funding to promote only those programs that are shown to be effective in preventing unintended teen pregnancy, HIV, and other STI risks. We shouldn’t be cutting programs that have proven to be successful in our communities based on ideological beliefs."

“Planned Parenthood is honored to be a partner in the Hartford Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative and is proud to provide comprehensive sex education and health care services that help teens plan their future and make healthy decisions,” said Amanda Skinner, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England. “Eighty-five percent of adults support federal funding for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program and yet the Trump-Pence administration wants to end this valuable and effective program in order to impose its beliefs on everyone and in doing so is putting young people at risk.  All young people have the right to comprehensive sex education that gives them the information and skills they need to stay safe and healthy.”

Last summer, the Trump administration announced it was discontinuing the TPP Program, effectively cutting $213 million in teen pregnancy prevention funding nationwide, including $1 million annually to Hartford.  That money represents the only current funding for teen pregnancy prevention in Hartford.  The City filed an administrative appeal of the Trump administration’s decision, arguing that it is illegal, but has yet to receive a response from the Office of Adolescent Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  

In 2010, HHS announced the TPP Program, a five-year grant to organizations around the country, including the City of Hartford, to reduce teen pregnancy, HIV, and STI rates.  The City and its community partners then 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.  Last summer’s decision to end the 2015 grant two years early came 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%, and since 2000, the teen birth rate in Hartford has declined by nearly 50%.

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