Abstinence Advocate Gets Veto Power Over $286 Million in Family Planning Funding

What happens when you elect Republicans? Anti-science Christians are put in positions of power. That now means one woman, an advocate for abstinence-only sex education, will get final say over how our nation spends $286 million in family planning funding.

POLITICO‘s Jennifer Haberkorn reports:

Conservatives have long criticized the $286 million Title X program, which funds family planning services, mostly for low-income women, because it gives money to Planned Parenthood and other groups that provide abortions, even though there is a prohibition on using those dollars for abortions.

Now, for the first time, the final decision of who gets the funding will be in the hands of one person — Valerie Huber, the acting deputy assistant secretary for population affairs at HHS, a longtime advocate of abstinence.

Huber is the former president of the National Abstinence Education Association (later known as Ascend) and someone who opposed a bill proposed by Congress in 2013 that would have rewarded sex education programs that rejected gender stereotypes, reached out to LGBTQ students, and taught a range of birth control methods. That bill didn’t even receive a vote.

In the past, a group of at least three people made decisions about how funds would be used, but the Trump administration changed the process last month, giving all the power to Huber alone.

“The Trump-Pence administration is handing the future of the country’s program for affordable birth control over to a woman who wants to mandate abstinence pledges,” [senior analyst at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America Kashif] Syed said. “Valerie Huber has called abstinence an anti-poverty program, and has made it clear she will impose her beliefs on people no matter how many get hurt in the process.”

If these people wanted to reduce the number of abortions, then funding abstinence-only programs is arguably the dumbest thing our country could do. But possessing logic and reason aren’t prerequisites to work in this administration. That means more women will suffer because Huber lives in a bubble where no one has sex until they’re married and unwanted pregnancies don’t exist.

I hope the Religious Right remembers this: When the abortion rates increase, they shouldn’t blame groups like Planned Parenthood that perform the procedure. They should blame Huber for not doing enough to prevent women from being in that situation.

This is a public health disaster waiting to happen, which is exactly what we’ve come to expect whenever Republicans are in power.

(Screenshot via YouTube)

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