Home / General / Elections Have Consequences: Sex Education Edition

Elections Have Consequences: Sex Education Edition


Jane Kay, of the Center for Investigative Reporting, reports that the Department of Health and Human Services has abruptly cancelled funding for a number of ongoing scientific studies and programs aimed at reducing teen pregnancy.

The Trump administration has quietly axed $213.6 million in teen pregnancy prevention programs and research at more than 80 institutions around the country, including Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and Johns Hopkins University.

The decision by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will end five-year grants awarded by the Obama administration that were designed to find scientifically valid ways to help teenagers make healthy decisions that avoid unwanted pregnancies.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and other top Trump appointees are outspoken opponents of federal funding for birth control, advocating abstinence rather than contraceptives to control teen pregnancies.

Among the programs that lost their funding: the Choctaw Nation’s efforts to combat teen pregnancy in Oklahoma, Johns Hopkins’ work with adolescent Apaches in Arizona, the University of Texas’ guidance for youth in foster care, the Chicago Department of Public Health’s counseling and testing for sexually transmitted infections and the University of Southern California’s workshops for teaching parents how to talk to middle school kids about delaying sexual activity.

During the Bush Administration, shifting resources into abstinence-only education was one of the ways that the White House rewarded its Christian conservative base. The Obama Administration shifted toward an evidence-based approach to teen health and pregnancy, which required programs to meet scientific standards. By the end of the Obama presidency, the result was a proposal to eliminate funding abstinence-only programs entirely. It should come as no surprise that the Trump Administration wants to undo not simply programs that involve contraception, but efforts focused on producing sound policy interventions. Nor that it views this area as one to give its base free reign. Kay again:

In May, Congress approved $101 million for the third year of the 81 grants. But Trump’s proposed budget did not include any funding for fiscal year 2018.

Huber, the new chief of staff for the office of the assistant secretary for health, previously was the president of Ascend, which used to be named the National Abstinence Education Association.

In a 2014 paper on the history of sex education, Huber criticized Obama for creating comprehensive sex education programs at the expense of focusing on abstinence.

“Pro-sex organizations used every opportunity to attack abstinence education,” Huber wrote with co-author Michael Firmin. “This agenda was (and is) at least as much about destroying abstinence education as it is about supporting ‘comprehensive’ sex education. … The current Obama administration has used its fiscal scalpel to eliminate the growth of abstinence education within America’s school systems.”

Tom Price, an orthopedic surgeon who was a U.S. representative from Georgia, was confirmed by Congress as health secretary in February. He has been vehemently opposed to federal programs involving contraception.

DHHS intends to return to failed policies while reducing the ability of the government to assess what makes interventions successful. In the process, it will waste millions of dollars on programs on pseudo-scientific programs. Indeed, the abstinence-only industry often looks like, swims like, and quacks like conservative rent-seeking, and it’s likely to get a lot more of your money going forward.





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  • Refrain from “free reign”.

    • bs

      By that, he means it’s “free rein”, as in lettin yer horse go where it wants. Kinda obscure as far as grammar correctifyin’ goes.

      • evodevo

        yeah, as a grammar Nazi AND horsewoman, this misuse drives me up a wall lol

        • N__B

          I did not realize the grammar nazis had cavalry. Duly noted.

  • waspuppet

    “president of Ascend, which used to be named the National Abstinence Education Association.”

    The political movement that resists removing celebrations of terrorist acts against the US in the cause of human enslavement shows a remarkable flexibility regarding nomenclature when it suits them, doesn’t it?

  • MariedeGournay

    Gotta keep ’em barefoot and pregnant somehow.

    • N__B

      OT: I just googled your nymsake. She was a fascinating person who I am ashamed to say I had never heard of.

      • MariedeGournay

        Thanks. I felt the same way when I discovered her in graduate school. Ended up becoming mildly obsessed and writing a clunky graduate thesis on her.

    • science_goy

      One wonders if “the base” has given any thought to the average demographics of people kept barefoot and pregnant with such moves.

      • Origami Isopod

        “The base” is full of submissive authoritarians, including a lot of women. And many of them aren’t exactly poor.

        • science_goy

          I’m thinking specifically of the sizable portion of Trump’s base who believe that white Americans are being driven to extinction by fecund immigrants.

          • dhudson2728

            Eh, that’s what the police are for.

  • efgoldman

    the abstinence-only industry often looks like, swims like, and quacks like conservative rent-seeking

    When do Nazis thieves “conservatives” ever do any fucking thing that’s NOT rent seeking? Anything at all?

    • N__B

      When they act out of pure sadism.

    • Say what you will about the tenants of National Socialism but at least they always pay their rent.

  • N__B

    Mr. Huber, these pro-sex organizations you speak of…I am interested. Please provide details, contact information, etc., etc.

    • Hogan

      URLs. Especially URLs.

  • Hogan

    The current Obama administration has used its fiscal scalpel to eliminate the growth of abstinence education within America’s school systems.

    So they cut out a malignant tumor, and now it’s growing back?

    • i think this means we need to irradiate social conservatism?

      • rudolf schnaubelt

        I’m down.

    • Emily68

      Pretty sure the comprehensive sex-ed Obama’s admin did promote advised students not to have sex until they felt they were ready. Not quite the same as “everybody go get laid!!!”

  • Matt Jones

    “In the process, it will waste millions of dollars on programs on pseudo-scientific programs.”

    You misspelled “shovel taxpayer dollars into the hands of religious conservatives” there. This is looting, plain and simple. They know the programs don’t work.

    • D. C. Sessions

      Of course they don’t work. That’s a feature, not a bug.

      Gotta keep the Base riled up somehow, and unwanted pregnancies (with associated abortions) are a proven way to do it.

      • Origami Isopod

        (with associated abortions)

        More the girls saddled with children they can’t afford, which expands the base of desperate people who will take shit jobs/serve as cannon fodder. It also gives Nice White Middle-Class Right Kind of Christian couples a larger selection of adoptable children they can train up.

        When the actual abortion rate falls, their leaders just lie about it anyway.

      • Without abortions, what would happen to all the “pro life” jobs?

    • TheBrett

      A lot of it is grifting, but that’s on the proprietor side – not the “demand” side. To the extent that said “demand” has a rationale for it at all (versus it just being about conservative parents finding sex a scary topic to contemplate when it comes to their children, and preferring to live in denial), it’s almost not about how effective it works – it’s about “Taking a Stand”.

      As in, for these folks, Premarital Sex is Evil with a capital E. No amount of it is acceptable, and doing comprehensive sex education that teaches them anything other than “don’t do it” is not only accepting that some of it will happen, but possibly “weakening the consequences of sin” (same thing underpinned the Comstock Law in the back in the Gilded Age) and making it more attractive (witness how the Abstinence-Only guy called groups pushing Comprehensive Sex Ed “pro-sex organizations”). Instead, they ought to be told that is evil and bad to do – and if some of them do it anyways, well, Jesus forgives [if you’re white and well-off].

  • howard

    it’s neck-and-neck whether sessions or price is the most disgraceful member of the cabinet.

    • rudolf schnaubelt

      Don’t forget the Okie at EPA. Talk about killing the unborn.

      • dbk

        For education folks, the Sec of Education takes top billing.

      • Sentient AI from the Future

        Its a “murderers row” of actual murderers

      • howard

        interestingly, there’s a handful of positions i didn’t realize were cabinet rank, and administrator of epa is one of them.

      • Batting 7th 8th and 9th you have Tillerson, Perry and Carson

    • YNWA40515

      All I know is that when I look at that gang of liars, imbeciles and thieves and think that Rick motherfckin’ Perry might not be totally horrible . . . it’s safe to say the bar for all of them is so low that there’s very little hope for the rest of us that they won’t all wreck absolutely everything within each of their remits.

    • TheBrett

      Price is worse. He has all the same problems that Sessions brings, except that he’s far more corrupt.

  • drdick52

    Oh, a twofer. Unsubstantiated and ineffective “faith based” programs and slut shaming!

  • efgoldman

    I first voted in 1966, when Mike Dukakis knocked on the door to ask for my first vote for state rep.

    At that time (yes, children) the Republicans (like the Dems) were a mostly non-ideological diverse coalition. I voted for them (at local and state level) occasionally. Whichever party won, it was pretty clear that they would govern and legislate within a relatively narrow set of parameters. And anyway, we could always get ’em next time.

    Now? Now they are some combination of terminally stupid, unbelievably ignorant, rampantly, gleefully evil, and totally devoted to power and money.

    It is not a pleasant evolutionary change.

    Now, it’s personal.
    Now, I hate them with as much of my being as I love my daughter and granddaughter.
    Now, I want them totally destroyed; not just beaten electorally. Destroyed. Dumped into penury and poverty and despair, unable to pay for shelter, feed and clothe their families, or make their way in the world.

    For starters.

    Every fucking one of them. No exceptions. Every one.


    • KarenJo12

      Same here. I want to see them suffer like they wish on us.

  • Ramon A. Clef

    It’s not about reducing teen pregnancy. They want a large population of people who are poorly educated and desperate. That puts downward pressure on wages across the board. The right’s agenda has always been about cheap labor, when they can’t get outright slavery. It’s just that now it comes with a side serving of trolling liberals.

    • KarenJo12

      And keeps the Nice Things safe for their own kids.

    • Origami Isopod

      The right’s agenda has always been about cheap labor, when they can’t get outright slavery.

      It’s a both/and thing. The right is about preserving hierarchies, and misogyny is based on hierarchical thinking.

      • Ramon A. Clef

        Also yes.

  • KarenJo12

    When I was a girl, in the dim mists of time of the 1970’s, one of my high school teachers gave this lecture: “Boys will try to touch you in places they shouldn’t. They do this to see whether or not you will make them stop. If you resist and make it clear they can’t do that, then the boys know you’re a nice girl and worthy of marriage. They will only respect you if you say, clearly and firmly, No. if you allow them to touch you, then they will think you are Not Nice, not worthy of marriage, and they won’t like and respect you. They’re going to try this one way or another.”

    I fully expect the new sex ‘education’ to follow exactly this script.

    • Origami Isopod

      It already has. There is a lot of abstinence-only material out there comparing girls who’ve had sex to flowers with all their petals plucked and to used wads of chewing gum.

      • LosGatosCA

        It’s really sad that these small minded, mentally oppressed, miserable people have to live out their fantasies making other people as miserable as they are.

    • Or the holding a pill between the knees. This is how these idiots think.

  • D. C. Sessions

    It’s not just the 5-year grants.

    All of the Title 10 grants with years left on them (most 3-year) just got their annual paperwork and have all lost their funding beyond FY17. Normally I’d credit my source but at present that doesn’t seem wise.

  • Donalbain

    I come across a lot of leftish people online who say “But Trump isn’t really a Republican”, how can we get through to them that he is? He is pure, distilled 100 proof Republican?

    • Origami Isopod

      You can’t fix stupid. It might just be better to encourage these people to fight Trump based on what he does and what he’s enabled, rather than having the nomenclature argument.

    • Sentient AI from the Future

      Pedantic non-point:
      100 proof is merely 50% ethyl alcohol.
      And the highest percentage of alcohol you can get by distillation is 95.5%, because azeotropes

      • LosGatosCA

        As someone who has imbibed 190 proof in the very distant past – that’s correct.

  • (((advocatethis)))

    The words have not been developed to express my loathing of and contempt for these people.

    • LosGatosCA

      It’s hard to believe people can be this so doggedly committed to regressing civilization just to earn a few bucks. And have morans so aggressively stupid that they think these are actually good ideas.

      But welcome to 21st Century America, no stupidity, no corruption, no racism, no misogyny, no tribally accepted sexual assaulters, too crass to be endorsed by conservative, Republican teabaggers and religious bigots.

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