Statement on President’s Budget
Advocates for Youth is deeply disappointed in the President’s proposed FY18 budget which sends yet another loud and clear message that this Administration does not uphold the values of protecting and affirming the health and wellbeing of young people here in this country and across the world.
“The White House named this budget ‘A New Foundation for American Greatness’, but in reality, its impact will be anything but great for young people, women, families and low-income communities across this country,” said Debra Hauser, president of Advocates for Youth.
The President’s Budget dismantles critical health and education programs and services that promote the health and wellbeing of young people. Among the programs cut deeply are Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Yet, significant increases are included for defense spending in their stead.
Other draconian cuts that will negatively impact the health and wellbeing of young people are the full elimination of the Office of Adolescent Health’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s domestic HIV prevention, testing and treatment programs, including its school health programs.
“It is not hyperbole to say that left unchecked, the sharp blade of the administration’s knife in this budget threatens recent progress made in the prevention of unplanned pregnancy and HIV and AIDS among young people”, warned Hauser.
Yet, included in this budget is $160 million for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs–programs that research has shown time and again to be ineffective at best and dangerous at worst. These ideologically driven ‘just say no’ programs leave young people unprepared to take personal responsibility for their sexual health and relationships as they grow into young adults.
As further proof of the ideological nature of this budget, in an unprecedented move, the President singles out Planned Parenthood–long targeted by the far right as a icon of women’s rights–by prohibiting Planned Parenthood clinics from participating in any program funded through Congress’ annual Labor-HHS appropriations bill. By so doing the administration spitefully singles out an individual health care provider and in the process threatens the health and well-being of millions of people who rely on this provider for mammograms, pap smears, contraception and other health care services.
In a cruel and previously unheard of decision, the President’s budget requests $1 billion in cuts to Global AIDS Programs, as well as completely zeroes-out all funding for international family planning and reproductive health programs. These are hostile and disturbing decisions that threaten the health and wellbeing of millions living in low and middle income countries, leaving them without access to basic health services or life-saving treatment.
“Such reductions in the standard of reproductive and sexual health care available to people across the world, especially those living with or at risk of HIV or in need of access to modern contraception to plan and space their families, will ultimately undo years of progress made in health access and economic development,” continues Hauser.
“Mr. Trump, more defense and a border wall are not the protection our youth need. Nor is abstinence-only-until-marriage programming. Honest sexual health education along with accessible reproductive and sexual health care, including contraception, HIV and STD prevention, testing and treatment, are far better investments here in the U.S. and abroad.
“The radical cuts to health, education and social services demonstrates yet again that this Administration is not interested in supporting the health and wellbeing of young people, women, LGBTQ individuals, communities of color, or low-income families. But we also know that the American public, including the millions of young people who have taken to the streets since inauguration, will not back down. They will continue to fight for the access to education and services they deserve and we will be right there with them.” concluded Hauser.
Advocates for Youth strongly rejects the President’s Budget and urges Congress to do so as well.