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File photo of a pregnant woman. (Pexels)

Dems fear budget cuts to pregnancy prevention programs would have 'ripple effects'



With the whirlwind surrounding the repeal and replacement of Obamacare in recent weeks, it's likely that the Trump administration's quiet slashing of funding for teen pregnancy prevention programs went unnoticed earlier this month. But, now, Democratic members of Congress are attempting to change that. Early last week, they publicly demanded Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price for answers regarding the decision to roll-back Obama-era policies that are aimed at preventing unplanned teen pregnancies.

"We write today to request an explanation as to the recent decision within your agency to shorten the project period of the Office of Adolescent Health's (OAH) Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP) from five years to three years," a group of Democrats wrote in a letter. "This decision, made before Congress has finalized fiscal year (FY) 2018 funding, would be a blow to bipartisan efforts to prevent unplanned teen pregnancies."

The TPPP program was established by Congress in 2010 as a way to support young people adopt health behaviors that help them avoid unplanned pregnancies. The local approach served more than a million people, trained more than 7,000 progressions, and supported partnerships among more than 3,000 community-based organizations. As a result, the 148 Democrats who signed the letter warned that the pulling of such overarching funding would "have a ripple effect across communities."

Specifically, in the letter, Congressional members poised a series of questions for Secretary Price to answer within 45 days. Such questions poked at details of the decision to reduce the TPPP program by two years, as well as to "justify" the "burden and adverse impact" for young people the program seeks to help.

Earlier this month, the Center for Investigative Reporting discovered that more than 80 organizations received letters from the federal office of Adolescent Health informing them of cuts to five-year grants they received under the Obama administration. The letters officiated the end date of funding as June 30, 2018, instead of June 30, 2020.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. saw a eight percent drop in the teen pregnancy rate. Experts said that's because of the use of birth control.

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