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Sex Education

and birth control programs faced cuts in favor of programs that promote abstinence and the “rhythm method”

Learn more about the state of sex education in America and how to advocate for better sex education in your community

Why It Matters

  • The administration tried to cut funding for evidence-based, comprehensive sex education programs — which are proven to increase safer sex and help young people prevent unintended pregnancy — and refocus the funding to abstinence-only programs that are proven to be ineffective.

  • That includes trying to cut funding for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP), an evidence-based initiative proven to increase safer sex

Key Players

Donald Trump

President of the United States

Elected to Office: 11-8-2016
Mike Pence

Vice President of the United States

Elected to Office: 11-8-2016
Alex Azar

Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Nominated by Trump: 11-13-2017
Katy Talento

Former Special Assistant to the President, White House Domestic Policy Council

Resigned: 6-1-2019
Valerie Huber

Senior Policy Advisor at the Office of Global Affairs; Former Senior Policy Advisor for the Assistant Secretary for Health (HHS)

Appointed: 6-6-2017


  • 7-7-2017

    Administration tries to slash funding for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program

  • 4-4-19

    HHS plans Title X, TPPP consolidation under abstinence-only activist Diane Foley

  • 4-20-2018

    Administration announces shift in funding toward abstinence-only approaches

Background on Sex Education

Putting Abstinence Advocate in Charge of Sex Education

Secretary of Health Alex Azar consolidated the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program and Title X (the federal program for affordable birth control) under anti-birth control, anti-abortion, pro-abstinence advocate Diane Foley.

Rewire News
Tossing Science Requirement for Sex Education

The Trump-Pence administration wanted to remove the requirement to base sex education on scientific evidence.

85% of Adults Support TPPP

The vast majority (85%) of Americans support keeping funding for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program.

Power to Decide
Parents Want Sex Education in Schools

Across party lines, over 93% of parents say comprehensive sex education in schools is extremely important.

Public Library of Science (PLOS) One
What the Goals of Sex Education for Teenagers Should Be

Hundreds of studies have shown that school sex education programs can help young people change specific behaviors related to safe sex. Such behaviors include waiting to have sex, and using condoms and contraception when young people do have sex. Any sex education curriculum should assess the specific needs of the students, as well as involve people with different backgrounds in theory, research, and sex and STD/HIV education.

Threatening to Turn Back the Clock on TPPP

Teenage pregnancy reached an all-time low in 2017, in part thanks to the educational resources provided by programs like the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program — a program that the administration attempted to end.

Abstinence Doesn’t Actually Work

Scientific evidence shows that abstinence-only-until-marriage programs — which the Trump-Pence administration attempted to rebrand as "sexual risk avoidance" — don’t work, and can actually be harmful.

Abstinence Programs Are Often Anti-LGBTQ

Young people need accurate information to make healthy decisions about their bodies and their futures — without fear or shame. But abstinence-only programs often blame survivors for their own sexual assaults and ignore the needs of LGBTQ+ teens.

Refinery 29
More Abstinence Advocates in the Ranks

Atempts to cut funds to the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program coincided with the administration’s appointment of abstinence-only-until-marriage activist Valerie Huber to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Planned Parenthood Action Blog

Related Issues

The Title X Gag Rule

The Health Agenda

Planned Parenthood

Birth Control Coverage

LGBTQ+ Rights