Obama’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program Is A Costly Failure

  • Sam Mire
  • Sep 10, 2017 12:29PM

Opportunistic liberals: run to the nearest mountain top. Get out your megaphones, prepare your proclamations of outrage. The President wants more teens to have their lives ruined by unwanted pregnancy!

Actually, that’s not the case at all. But that hasn’t stopped many in the media from reporting the President’s latest cut in such derelict fashion. The decision to wind down funding of former-president Obama’s literally named Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) grant program is a results-based one. 

When the program was implemented in 2010, it was given such a literal name because its aim was ostensibly noble, with no dishonest ‘Affordable Care Act’-like rebranding required. Yet, a noble cause does not necessarily indicate the need for funding, especially in the case of teen pregnancy prevention.

Most reliable reports show that teen pregnancy, birth, and abortion rates are at a four-decade low, so it is a wonder how funding totalling over $800 million – a statistic provided by the Wall Street Journal – was justifiable. For such a specific cause to receive that level of funding, one would think the data would support a true need for innovative solutions to a growing problem. With respect to teen pregnancy, this was not the case.

Worse, it cannot be said that Obama’s program was the cause of, or even a contributing factor to the decline in teen pregnancy nationwide. Despite the $800 million spent, the results of the Teen Pregnancy Prevention program is mixed, at best. In some cases, institutions which accepted grants under the program saw negative results, with more teen pregnancies arising after funding had been increased. 

It was thought that funding would go toward implementing proven or new techniques in reducing teen pregnancies, with approaches primarily centered around birth control education. Obviously, whatever changes were made after receiving grant money, if any were made at all, did not have the desired effects of significant reductions in teen pregnancy.

When the Obama administration evaluated the progress of 18 funded organizations or localities which received grants to implement supposedly evidence-based approaches to prevention, they found that any progress at all was rare. And this is the Obama administration evaluating their own programs!

Of the 18 programs examined, a whopping one showed results that could be categorized as ‘positive’. Three of the programs yielded ‘mixed results’, 11 had ‘no lasting effect on behavior’ and three had a ‘negative effect’. Programs that had a negative effect meant that, after being exposed to the program’s birth-control ‘education’, teen girls were actually more likely to become pregnant than before. Even the one program said to have a positive effect was found to have negligible results upon a second examination. (WSJ)

These results, in a word, are disastrous. But hey, they only cost a cool 800 mill.

The authority which ‘institutions’ carry, when compared to parents, for example, has always been laughable. Federalizing attempts at pregnancy prevention yielded results that were all too predictable.

So why, in the face of this evidence of failure, have Democrats lambasted President Trump’s promise to eventually eliminate this program as an attack against teenage women? Perhaps you would be inclined to believe that, given more time, the programs could eventually work. Such an idea is not only naïve, but baseless.

The real reason Democrats are espousing their usual Trump-rage is quite evident. They are in the business of outrage. And they are in the business of demonizing Donald Trump, even if it means completely misrepresenting the issue at hand. 

At least they’re consistent.

In July, several Senate Dems sent a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price in which they decried the proposed cut to the program as one that “puts at risk the health and well-being of women and our most vulnerable youth.” They even had the gall to cite the overall drop in teen pregnancy as reason to keep the programs, despite this being a ludicrous assertion. The programs implemented under Obama, despite costing what they did, reached fewer than 1% of teens, according to the Wall Street Journal.

This infinitesimal percentage of teens affected by Obama’s program not only makes one wonder how the cost could be so damn high, it exemplifies the relative impotence of the program within the national teen-pregnancy landscape. Even without taking into account the unmitigated failure which the program proved to be, cutting it would have virtually no impact on “our most vulnerable youth”, as the Senate Dems so melodramatically put it.

There is no justification for continued funding of this program. It does not lie in the data, so predictably the left has resorted to emotional arguments rooted in hyperbole and dishonesty. 

Again, at least they’re consistent.

However, Americans should take comfort, both in the statistics which show teen pregnancy, birth, and abortion rates continuing to fall steadily, and also in the fact that yet another program which wastes millions of tax dollars is being eliminated. 

It is also a win for teens who would have been exposed to the approaches which culminated in an increased likelihood of pregnancy (how is that even possible?). But, because it was a program implemented under Barack Obama, Democrats are engaging in their obligatory hemming and hawing. 

Ignore it. It could be worse. 

At least hemming and hawing never ended up with another pregnant teen, right?