The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has decided to reverse course and continue funding grants for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP) for the next year.
Last July, the agency quietly cut funding for the last two years of the program, which would amount to over $200 million in savings.
HHS has since reinstated the TPPP grants after several current grantees filed a series of successful lawsuits to stop the cuts from being implemented, according to a report published Thursday by the Hill.
“We will be funding the original grantees for the next year under the previous criteria [set by the Obama administration],” a spokesperson for HHS told the Hill. Earlier this year, the TPPP grant criteria had been reworked into an abstinence-only based program, using rebranded terms like “sexual risk avoidance.” Those changes came in the wake of the controversial appointment of abstinence-only advocate Valerie Huber to the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH), which oversees the office that administers TPPP. Huber is now senior policy adviser in OASH, and “serves as a principal policy adviser to the assistant secretary for health, overseeing management and programmatic initiatives,” according to HHS.
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“Valerie Huber is out of touch with the reality of women’s health needs, spending nearly two decades promoting abstinence-only, anti-contraception programs,” Mary Alice Carter, executive director of Equity Forward, said in a statement in June when it was announced that Huber would oversee the creation of OASH’s long-term strategic plan. TPPP has also been a recent target for cuts by House Republicans on the Appropriations Committee.
According to the Hill‘s report, plans to reinvent the TPPP have been foiled by the courts. “Funding will now resume for the original 81 grant recipients, and any remaining funds will be awarded to new groups under the new criteria, the HHS spokesperson said, adding that the anticipated start date for the new grants will be sometime in September.”