Three political appointees of President Donald Trump directed the cancellation of a Health and Human Services (HHS) teen pregnancy program over the objections of health experts at the agency, NBC News reports.
Led by three pro-abstinence appointees — including then chief of staff Victoria Huber — the administration abruptly ended the $213 million program last summer that had been credited with lowering to an all-time low the nation's teen pregnancy rate, NBC reports.
NBC cited documents that it had obtained, showing that Huber and Trump's appointees were pulling an end run around the health professionals who ran the program since 2010.
Evelyn Kappeler, chief of the Office of Adolescent Health for the past eight years, at one point was told to "get in line" about the agency's funding, NBC reports.
The Teen Pregnancy Program had bipartisan support in Congress.
The HHS justified ending the program in a fact sheet titled "False Claims vs. The Facts."
"Given the strong evidence of negative impact or no impact for these programs, continuing the TPP Program in its current state is not a reasonable option. The evidence stands in stark contrast to the promised results, jeopardizing the youth who were served, while also proving to be a poor use of more than $800 million in taxpayer dollars," HHS wrote in August.
HHS is facing at least three lawsuits over its decision to end the program, NBC reports.
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