Over the past few months, the Department of Health and Human Services has quietly initiated small tweaks to language in its policies, all of which have the same aim: to prioritize abstinence programs over contraception. As BuzzFeed reported on Friday, this could have a huge impact on the funding for many healthcare organizations.
“Incrementally, the Trump administration is cutting Obama-era grant specifications and replacing them with language that benefits ‘faith-based organizations,’ abstinence-oriented programs, and ‘natural’ family planning methods that don’t involve the hormonal or chemical contraceptives,” BuzzFeed’s Ema O’Connor writes.
These moves are adding up. Just last month, the administration released guidelines for its Title X grants, which distribute millions of dollars to health clinics around the country. The wording emphasized funding to organizations that promote “activities for adolescents that do not normalize sexual risk behaviors, but instead clearly communicate the research informed benefits of delaying sex or returning to a sexually risk-free status.”
Valerie Huber, an HHS official who previously ran Ascend, an organization that promotes abstinence-only education for youth, will have the final say in which organizations will be awarded grants.
And anti-abortion advocates know that they are winning. As one legislative assistant at the Family Research Council told The Hill on Thursday, “We’re really excited to see that the administration is giving some tools back to us to keep pushing that fight.”