Millions of Tax Dollars Go to Fake Clinics. For What?

| Reproaction

By: Agatha Pinheiro

Reproaction has written about some of the ways anti-abortion fake clinics obtain and misuse taxpayer dollars, and we started to do some new digging on the federal funding streams that are funneling your tax dollars to these deceitful organizations. In 2020, anti-abortion fake clinics received more than 4 million dollars from the federal government through the Family and Youth Services Bureau in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) alone to implement adolescent pregnancy prevention programs [1]. Additionally, HHS’ Office of Population Affairs sponsors almost 1 million dollars for current teen pregnancy prevention programs implemented by anti-abortion fake clinics [2]. This is more than 5 million dollars going to fake clinics that are known for spreading misinformation about pregnancy, contraception, and reproductive health, along with other shady and unethical practices. The federal government should not trust these organizations with our tax dollars.

Family and Youth Services Bureau – Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (APP) Grants
Money spent on abstinence-only programs 91.9 million
Money spent on abstinence and contraception programs 65.8 million
Money spent on anti-abortion fake clinics 4.6 million

Last year, the Crisis Pregnancy Center of Yakima received a grant of about $364,000 from the federal government to implement adolescent pregnancy prevention programs to 800 young people in schools. [3] One quick search at their website allows us to identify a number of examples of blatant misinformation and biased claims about abortions and sex. When talking about the unproven and potentially dangerous abortion pill “reversal” regimen, the center classifies it as a “often very effective procedure,” even though there is no data to back that up,  and provides a number for people to access call [4]. It also describes sex as a “relationship super glue” and suggests that it “can actually become harmful to our emotional and mental well-being when used in a casual relationship” and has the potential to rip people apart when that relationship ends. All these claims are made without any data to support it and research has shown that stigmatization about sex can lead to psychological harm in the future [4]. This is especially true for young people, for whom the grant money given to this center is targeted.

On top of the fact that the federal government is awarding grants to organizations that are known for spreading misinformation about sex and contraception, the criteria to be eligible for those grants is deeply problematic. The Family and Youth Services Bureau spent about 92 million dollars in abstinence-only teen pregnancy prevention grants for programs whose goal is to teach young people how to voluntarily refrain from non-marital sex [1]. The Title V State Sexual Risk Avoidance Education grant of about $45 million dollars has the biggest budget among all adolescent pregnancy prevention programs of this bureau and it strictly prohibits the demonstrations, simulations, or distribution of contraceptive devices by its grantees [5]. This criteria leaves out great organizations that are committed to giving teens accurate, actionable sexual health education that has great outcomes and efficacy by distributing and teaching about contraception. In this past Reproaction blog, the ineffectiveness of abstinence-only methods and the importance of contraception distribution is explained in more detail.

By choosing to ignore science and the example of other countries who have much lower teenage pregnancy rates compared to ours [6], the United States is not only wasting taxpayer money on programs that do not work, but also limiting the reproductive rights of young people. Teens can be rational decision-makers about their own bodies and health, and they have the right to receive accurate and scientific information about sex,  the right to decide when to initiate their sexual life as well as to parent children without being stigmatized, and the right to contraception and abortion access. By supporting and sponsoring anti-abortion fake clinics that advocate against those rights the federal government is actively contributing to the denial of young peoples’ autonomy and reproductive rights. The government should use its resources to support programs that are proven to equip adolescents with navigating sexual and reproductive health decisions safely, with scientific-based approaches, and that assist young parents in navigating birth and early childhood should they choose that option if faced with an early pregnancy, instead of furthering stigma and shame in all aspects of our reproductive and sexual lives.

Sources:

1.https://www.acf.hhs.gov/fysb/grants

2.https://opa.hhs.gov/grant-programs/teen-pregnancy-prevention-program-tpp/tpp-grantees/current-tpp-grantees

3. https://www.acf.hhs.gov/fysb/grants

4.https://www.lifechoicesyakima.com/post/creating-intimacy-that-lasts

5. https://www.acf.hhs.gov/fysb/fact-sheet/title-v-state-sexual-risk-avoidance-education-fact-sheet

6.https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/08/23/545289168/abstinence-education-is-ineffective-and-unethical-report-argues

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