Two major resignations from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in under a week! Wade Horn, considered the point man on abstinence education for the Bush Administration, resigned today as Assistant Secretary for Children and Families at HHS. (Abandon ship, anyone?)
As Assistant Secretary, Horn ran the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), which administers both the Abstinence Education Grants to States program (Title V) and the Community-Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) program. During Horn's tenure, the CBAE program saw major funding increases, bringing the current total for federally funded abstinence-only-until-marriage education programs to $176 million per year. Horn also oversaw a dramatic tightening of HHS restrictions on how abstinence-only funds can be used, and promoted an increased emphasis on marriage and faith-based initiatives. Horn, who was confirmed as Assistant Secretary in 2001, is reportedly leaving to work for Deloitte & Touche LLP.
My favorite commentary so far on this breaking news is from Echidne of the Snakes:
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I always thought of him as our daddy, because he used to be the head of the National Fatherhood Initiative before his appointment to run the lives of the poor families. It's all very symbolic of what the administration wanted to achieve: To put a Real Daddy in charge of everything, especially in charge of women's lives. Yup. That's what I think.
It's true that Horn has been closely tied to Religious Right money and founded the National Fatherhood Institute. Hey wait a sec, the National Fatherhood Institute is one of the recipients of HHS grants, drawing allegations of cronyism and discrimination. In fact, Legal Momentum and the National Organization for Women (NOW) filed complaints last week with HHS alleging Title IX violations in 34 of the first 100 programs funded by Bush's "Responsible Fatherhood" initiative. Coincidence?
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''Because (the abstinence funding) is so contrary to public health, our hope is the next assistant secretary there can have a firmer footing on what the evidence says.''