Planned Parenthood affiliates filed suit last week against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), challenging the administration’s efforts to impose an abstinence-only until marriage (AOUM) curriculum on 1.2 million young people via the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPP program). The suit comes shortly after the administration announced its plans to drastically remake the TPP program with an emphasis on AOUM programming, which has been repeatedly proven ineffective and misleading. Established by the Obama administration in 2010, the TPP program was intended to reduce teen pregnancy by funding the evidence-based initiatives of individual communities and schools. The program, in combination with other pregnancy prevention initiatives, was effective–birth rates among teens aged 15 to 19 dropped by half from 2007 to 2017.
The current administration’s move to mandate AOUM curriculum, rebranded as “sexual risk avoidance,” threatens to reverse this progress. If successful, Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit will ensure that the TPP program continues to be guided by evidence-based principles and that recipients of funding will not be forced to spread harmful AOUM programming.
– Anna Katz, Communications Intern