When the Trump administration abruptly canceled a federal teen pregnancy prevention program last year, it did so over the objections of career experts in the Department of Health and Human Services, according to internal notes and emails obtained by NBC News.
Three political appointees with pro-abstinence beliefs guided the process in spite of the the objections, according to the cache of documents. The notes show that Evelyn Kappeler, the $213 million Teen Pregnancy Program's long time administrator, appears out of the loop on decisions and describes being "so rattled" at one point that her reaction "was to cry."
Many medical professionals credit the program, which had bipartisan support in Congress, with lowering the national teen pregnancy rate to its lowest point. An outside group claims the effort to end it violated a federal law.
The department has claimed the program was ineffective and also did not conform to President Donald Trump's proposed budget. It did not respond to emails or answer questions about who was responsible for ending the program, instead directing NBC News to a fact sheet and announcement on the agency's website that says most of the projects that received funding "had no impact or had a negative impact on teen behavior."