Democrats and establishment media have criticized the Trump administration for quietly cutting off funding to President Obama’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention program.
But the program and others of its kind focusing on “safe sex” rather than abstinence have been shown by research to be ineffective and even counterproductive, argues Michael New, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Michigan-Dearborn and an associate scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute in Washington, D.C.
The Department of Health and Human Services said in July the grants will end in June 2018, instead of in 2020, meaning some $218 million will not be distributed.
Writing for National Review’s The Corner blog, New noted the Los Angeles Times, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Britain’s Independent newspaper, NPR and Forbes are among the media outlets that have focused on the outrage from the public-health community and grant awardees who have received notice of the cessation of funding.
The reporting, however, failed to mention the Office of Adolescent Health has issued two reports evaluating the results of the Obama TPP program’s grants.
Only three of the 38 programs the reports studied reported long-term reductions in the incidence of unprotected sex. And just one program reported a long-term reduction in overall rates of teen sexual activity.
New said the results of the studies of the Obama program should not come as a surprise, pointing to “a significant body of research” finding that programs that encourage teenagers to use contraception are ineffective or even counterproductive.
NPR’s “All Things Considered” interviewed Professor Kelly Wilson, the leader of a teen pregnancy prevention project at Texas A&M University, who said she received a letter in July informing her the funding had come to an end.
“There is somewhat of a panic because these initiatives need to continue,” she said.
Wilson insisted “evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs,” meaning an emphasis on “safe sex,” have produced a decline in teenage pregnancies.
However, a 2016 study by two University of Notre Dame economists found that 1990s condom-distribution programs in U.S. high schools resulted in higher fertility rates among teenagers.
And two British economists published an article in the Journal of Health Economics earlier this summer concluding the British government’s recent cuts to sex education and contraception programs actually led to reductions in teen-pregnancy rates.
WND has reported government statistics show rises in teen pregnancy correspond to the presence of Planned Parenthood’s sex-ed programs.