Remember when Ivanka Trump's public relations team let the world know that the first daughter would be an advocate for women and girls in the White House? MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle remembers, and she is using a new Trump administration policy to offer Ivanka a caustic reminder:
Ruhle was responding to the Trump administration cutting funding to 81 grantees working on programs to educate teenagers about avoiding unwanted pregnancies. The grants were made by the Obama administration and were to run for five years. Trump's Department of Health and Human Services will instead cut them after three.
In cutting the programs, according to Axios, HHS cited that the “very weak evidence of positive impact of these programs stands in stark contrast to the promised results, jeopardizing the youth who were served.”
But the department only looked at the results from the first round of grants. The point of a five-year program is to study what does and does not work in that first round and then adjust approaches for the second and beyond.
The practical effect will be a reduction in “specialized programs that go beyond traditional comprehensive sex education programs,” according to Axios. Most of them focus on minority and low-income populations that are traditionally underserved by such programs.
Which brings us back to Ivanka Trump, who has promised to be an advocate for women and girls in her father's administration and has claimed that “empowering women has been central” to her life and career. This should nominally include all women and girls, not just those who can afford to buy her dresses and handbags.
With teen birth rates in the U.S. having declined to an all-time low in recent years, it would seem that the trend over the last few years toward better education and access to contraception might be having an impact. The Trump administration would be wise to notice.
Ruhle is just reminding its most visible alleged advocate for women and girls of that fact.
Please note: This is a commentary piece. The views and opinions expressed within it are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of IJR.