WASHINGTON, D.C. — New documents obtained by Democracy Forward indicate that a 2017 decision to terminate grants to the highly-effective, evidence-based Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) Program was driven by Trump-appointed political aides with strict anti-science, anti-evidence backgrounds who boxed out career agency officials most familiar with the program. During the process, career experts were cut out of the loop, admonished to “get in line,” and told that it was not their place to ask questions about the agency’s use of funds, according to these never-before-seen internal emails and records from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), a selection of which can be viewed here.
Recently, HHS produced the first set of records in the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, Democracy Forward Foundation v. HHS. The documents further support the claims made in suits filed by Democracy Forward on behalf of TPP Program grantees, challenging the premature and abrupt termination of the grants as violating the Administrative Procedure Act ).
The new documents obtained by Democracy Forward suggest that:
“Trump is letting anti-science political appointees destroy a bipartisan program that medical experts credit with reducing America’s teen pregnancy rate to an all-time low,” said Democracy Forward Executive Director Anne Harkavy. “These new documents lend powerful support to the argument that HHS’s abrupt decision to stop funding this program was unlawful.”
In total, nine TPP Program grantees, including local governments, health care, and other non-profit organizations are suing to reinstate their TPP Program funding. The cases filed are King County v. Azar (2:18-cv-00242-JCC) (W.D. Wash); Healthy Teen Network v. HHS (1:18-cv-00468-CCB) (D. Md); Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho et al v. HHS (2:18-cv-00055-TOR) (E.D. Wash.); and Policy and Research, LLC, et al v. HHS (1:18-cv-00346) (D.D.C.).
Each plaintiff provides and/or facilitates the provision of sex education, youth development, abstinence education, and health service-related resources to youth and families.
For more information about the documents, please contact Democracy Forward.
Democracy Forward is a nonprofit legal organization that scrutinizes Executive Branch activity across policy areas, represents clients in litigation to challenge unlawful actions, and educates the public when the White House or federal agencies break the law.
December 7, 2018