For Immediate Release
Contact: Zach Eisenstein
188 Lawmakers Demand Explanation for Administration’s Unusual Decision
Legislators Write Sec. Price in wake of unjustified Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program Grantee Cuts
Washington, D.C. – 149 representatives requested an explanation from Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price for the possibly unprecedented decision to shorten and, in some instances, terminate Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP) project periods for existing grantees. This request joins similar letters to Secretary Price: one signed by 37 Senators and another from nine members of the Texas House delegation.
“SIECUS stands in full support of the Members of Congress demanding answers for the Administration’s attack on an effective, proven program that advances the health and wellbeing of young people in all parts of the country,” said Chitra Panjabi, SIECUS President & CEO.
“At a time when young people are most in need of information and education to protect their sexual and reproductive health, this Administration is denying evidence and science. Young people deserve better,” said House members in the letter led by Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA-13), Lloyd Doggett (D-CA-35), Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM-1), Ted Deutch (D-FL-22), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA-7), and Marc Veasey (D-TX-33).
OAH has notified 81 grantees currently finishing year two of five-year projects that their awards will end on June 30, 2018, even though Congress has yet to determine FY 2018 funding for TPPP. Additionally, OAH has notified the five National Capacity-Building Assistance Providers their grants will end immediately, despite Congress approving $101 million for TPPP in FY 2017 just three months ago.
“This action is short-sighted and puts at risk the health and well-being of women and our most vulnerable youth,” reads the Senate letter led by Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).
As young people continue being denied access to the most basic sex education that reflects their lives, needs, and rights, prevention programs and interventions like those supported through TPPP play a critical role in serving some of the most marginalized young people across the country. In just seven years, TPPP projects have developed 3,000 local partnerships and trained more than 7,000 professionals, ultimately serving over one million young people and contributing valuable insights into how to most effectively support young people’s need for and right to information that helps them make healthy decisions for themselves.
“This is yet another example of the Administration politicizing the livelihoods of our country’s most vulnerable communities instead of working to better support them. At SIECUS, we will continue to fight against harmful decisions like these until this administration starts prioritizing people over politics,” Panjabi said.
The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS) has served as the national voice for sexuality education, sexual health, and sexual rights for over 50 years. SIECUS affirms that sexuality is a fundamental part of being human, one that is worthy of dignity and respect. We advocate for the right of all people to accurate information, comprehensive education about sexuality, and sexual health services. SIECUS works to create a world that ensures social justice and sexual rights.