Latest casualty of Trump’s war on Obama’s legacy is our low teen pregnancy rate
In his effort to undo all the good of President Barack Obama's presidency, Donald Trump is now targeting teens.
No good deed done under President Barack Obama goes unpunished by his petty and jealous successor.
Donald Trump, whose bizarre obsession with the far more popular and successful Obama, is world-famous — not to mention highly destructive — is intent on undoing Obama’s legacy, regardless of the harm his obsession inflicts. His latest target? A program to reduce teen pregnancies.
The Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, created under Obama in 2010, funds educational programs in 39 states to teach teenagers about safe sex and reduce teen pregnancy rates. Those programs have been highly successful; in fact, in 2017, teen birth rates in the U.S. reached an all-time low.
But the Trump administration wants to change that.
The Department of Health and Human Services issued a letter stating that it was terminating the program early — but “offered up very little explanation” for the sudden decision, according to Bill Albert, chief program officer at the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
However, given the number of anti-women’s health ideologues in Trump’s administration, and at HHS in particular, it’s not hard to guess at possible reasons.
Tom Price, secretary of the department, is a staunch opponent of access to reproductive health care, including birth control.
Valerie Huber, chief of staff to the assistant secretary of the department, was president of an abstinence-only organization prior to joining the administration. Abstinence-only education has been proven to be not just ineffective, but dangerous because it provides false and misleading information to teens who are likely to engage in unsafe practices because they don’t know any better.
Also at HHS is Charmaine Yoest, appointed by Trump in April, who had been one of the nation’s most prominent and radical anti-abortion activists. Among her many extremist beliefs is her desire to ban all forms of birth control, even though the ability to access affordable birth control is what contributes to lower rates of unintended pregnancies — and abortion.
And of course there is Vice President Mike Pence, one of the foremost leaders in the war on women’s health, who once described condoms as “very, very poor protection.”
Republicans have for years targeted the very programs that effectively reduce teen pregnancy rates. In 2015, for example, Republicans tried to shut down an award-winning program in Colorado than reduced the state’s teen pregnancy rate by 40 percent.
But instead of trying to replicate and expand the programs that actually work, the Trump administration is trying to shut them down, which can only have negative consequences for the very people they were helping.
So because of his petty spite, and his administration’s rabid ideology, yet another tremendous success from the Obama administration may be reversed by Trump.