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Multnomah County Appeals Federal Cuts To Teen Health Programs

Multnomah County is appealing a federal cut to teen health grants.

Last month, the administration of President Donald Trump said it would cut $200 million in grants to 80 institutions across the nation. They were using the money to reduce teenage pregnancy rates.

In Multnomah County, the cut means a loss of $1.25 million for the Youth Sexual Health Equity Program next year and in 2019.

Multnomah County acting public health director Rachael Banks says they’ve decided to join counties in Seattle, Baltimore and elsewhere in formally appealing the cuts to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“It’s not legal,” she said. “There was no warning given. There wasn’t any reason given. And there’s definitely no indication that there was poor performance.”

She said that if the appeal is unsuccessful, the county will consider taking the issue to court.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price opposes federal funding for birth control. He advocates abstinence instruction instead.

The money was meant to be spread over five years, but the grants were cut two years early.

The Multnomah County Health Department has been letting school districts know about the cuts, as well as groups that help schools get the pregnancy prevention message out, including the Latino NetworkNAYASelf Enhancement Inc.the Boys and Girls Club and Planned Parenthood.

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