The Trump administration’s abrupt cancellation of a federal program to prevent teen pregnancy last year was directed by political appointees over the objections of career experts in the Department of Health and Human Services, which administers the program, according to internal notes and emails obtained by NBC News.The trove shows three appointees with strict pro-abstinence beliefs — including Valerie Huber, the then-chief of staff for the department’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health — guided the process to end a program many medical professionals credit with helping to bring the nation’s teen pregnancy rate to an all-time low.Prior to serving at HHS, Huber was the president of Ascend, an association that promotes abstinence until marriage as the best way to prevent teen pregnancy.The $213 million Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program was aimed at helping teenagers understand how to avoid unwanted pregnancies. It had bipartisan support in Congress and trained more than 7,000 health professionals and supported 3,000 community-based organizations since its inception in 2010.
We’ve got copious research showing that abstinence-only programs are worse than useless — unless your goal is not to stop teen pregnancy but to lecture kids about how sex is dirty and sinful.
* Jim Rutenberg reports that Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model who says she had an affair with Trump, is suing to be released from the nondisclosure agreement she signed to keep quiet about it.
* Robert Costa and Carol Leonnig report that the Trump team asked Republican superlawyer Ted Olson to help defend the president, and he was all, yeah no thanks.
* Sean McElwee, Colin McAuliffe, and Jon Green say Democratic presidential candidates should embrace a federal jobs guarantee, and Kirsten Gillibrand already has.
* The Pew Research Center reports that there are growing gaps in party identification: Democrats outnumber Republicans among women by 19 points, and among college graduates by 22 points. As Pew explains, this shows how the Democratic coalition is evolving.
* Ella Nilsen reports that Senator Brian Schatz will introduce a plan for debt free college that is not paid for, on the theory that progressives should not fall into the trap of acting as if only progressive policies must be funded, even as conservatives happily run up deficits to fund theirs.
* And Ian Millhiser reports that a California law targeting deceptive “crisis pregnancy centers” that try to fool women out of getting the abortions they want just had a brutal day at the Supreme Court.