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Le Bonheur losing federal funding for teen pregnancy prevention program

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Le Bonheur Children's Hospital announced it's losing federal funding for its "Be Proud! Be Responsible!" program, which aims to prevent unwanted teen pregnancies.

“All you can think is, 'Why would you not fund that?' Then my second thought was, ‘Well I guess I’m not surprised,’” said Katy Leopard, outreach coordinator at Choices Center for Reproductive Health in Midtown.

Leopard said her kids have taken the Be Proud! Be Responsible class in their Shelby County high school.

Le Bonheur partners with SCS to administer the semester-long program teaching safe pregnancy prevention, including abstinence and birth control.

"Unless you’re getting this information to kids at school, where they're required to be already, the odds of them getting it at home are low because it's such a taboo topic," Leopard said.

In fact, a recent Tennessee study found teen pregnancy rates have been steadily declining in Shelby County since 2010.

Le Bonheur officials said 4,000 students will take the course in the upcoming school year. They also said the program has proven its effectiveness with declining teen pregnancy rates.

But they said they found out this week the federal government is pulling its funding from the program, one of more than 80 Teen Pregnancy Prevention programs nationwide.

“We were saddened to hear these teen pregnancy prevention programs would be stopped because they are evidence-based. They’ve been shown across the country to work,” Leopard said.

Those familiar with the decision say the move comes in advance of Congress finalizing the national budget. President Donald Trump has promised to drain the swamp.

Administrators said the program was only funded through June 2018. After that, they will to look for alternate funding sources.