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Valerie Huber

Valerie Huber

Senior Advisor, Office of Global Affairs

Huber has a long history of promoting abstinence-only programs. She has worked to limit comprehensive sex education at the state level in Ohio during her decade with Ascend (formerly called the National Abstinence Education Association), and now at the federal and international levels within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

HOW THEIR ROLE AFFECTS ACCESS TO REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH

Huber was appointed Chief of Staff for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health (OASH) at HHS on June 5, 2017. Following the abrupt departure of Teresa Manning, Huber was named Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office of Populations Affairs (OPA) on January 12, 2018, where she oversaw drastic changes to Title X, the nation’s only family planning program. She then became Senior Policy Advisor in the OASH, an office that is making it harder for people in the US to obtain birth control and accurate information about their reproductive healthcare. HHS has already cut over $200 million in grants to teenage pregnancy prevention programs under her watch. She also oversaw the removal of all references to birth control from the national family planning grant process guidelines, instead emphasizing “sexual risk avoidance."

On January 15, 2018, Politico reported that Huber had been reassigned to HHS’ Office of Global Affairs (OGA). The OGA is charged with HHS’ “global health diplomacy” initiatives, which under the Trump administration, have been detrimental to reproductive health care. Those programs and policies OGA is involved with include the Helms Amendment and the Global Gag Rule.

PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT OF NOTE

Executive Director; President/CEO, Ascend (formerly National Abstinence Education Association), 2007 – 2017

Abstinence Manager for State of Ohio and Title V Coordinator, Ohio Department of Health, 2004 – 2007

Founder/Executive Director, REACH of Southwestern Ohio, 1999 – 2004

TIES TO OTHER ANTI-CHOICE EXTREMISTS

Steven Valentine:

Steven Valentine serves as OASH chief of staff, and was previously Huber’s deputy chief of staff. Together, along with the former head of HHS’s family planning programs, Teresa Manning, they are reported to have made the decision to eliminate the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program. They did not involve the Office of Adolescent Health with the decision.

Teresa Manning:

Teresa Manning is the former head of HHS’s family planning programs. Along with Huber’s chief of staff, Steven Valentine, the three are reported to have made the decision to eliminate the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program. They did not involve the Office of Adolescent Health in the decision.

Scott Phelps:

Scott Phelps and Huber co-founded the National Abstinence Education Association (now Ascend) in 2007 after Phelps spent years pushing abstinence education in Chicago. Phelps thinks that the rising number of children born outside the “marriage relationship” have “ominous implications for our culture.” In 2012, Phelps praised Huber on LinkedIn: “Valerie works closely with members of Congress of both parties as well as members of the media. She has a unique ability to clearly and effectively communicate the benefits of Sexual Risk Avoidance on behalf of our members around the country.”

HIGHLIGHTS

Huber Claimed That Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) Encourages Teens To Have Sex:

Huber authored a report in 2016 claiming that teens who received comprehensive sex education (versus abstinence education) were "much more likely to have sex when they learn about LARC." She also said a CDC report encouraging greater use of LARCs to decrease teen pregnancy was slanted toward the notion that LARCs offered safe sex and ignored the complexities surrounding teen sex. [Teens Speak Out report, 6/16].  

Huber Falsely Claimed That Science Shows Teens Are “Healthier” If They Do Not Have Sex:

In 2016, in response to an American Academy of Pediatrics clinical report that found that "research has conclusively demonstrated that programs promoting abstinence-only until heterosexual marriage occurs are ineffective," Huber said a "health organization like the AAP should not be affirming a behavior that can compromise the health of youth…the science is clear that teens are healthier when they avoid all sexual activity" [The Guardian, 7/18/16].

Huber's Master's Thesis: Sex Education Should “Promote Biblical Standards":

In her 2009 master's thesis, Huber wrote that Christians “should promote Biblical standards" in sex education. She further discussed the immorality of pre-marital sex: “Scripture is replete with examples where sexual immorality derailed a promising life. Sexual sins were common in Scripture and are common today. The Bible is very clear about God's standards for sex. In both the Old and New Testaments, God relates the beauty of sex within marriage and the destructive nature of sexual behavior outside of marriage (I Corinthians 7:2, Hebrews 13:4, Proverbs 6:29, Song of Solomon)." [Valerie Huber Master's Thesis, 2009].

THE WHOLE STORY

Valerie Huber Is Out Of Touch With The Realities Of Sex-Ed And Spent Her Career Trying To Implement Abstinence-Only Education 

Huber Has Been Peddling Abstinence-Only Education Since The Late 1990’s…  

Huber Managed The Abstinence Education Program At The Ohio Department Of Health From 2004 To 2007. "Huber came to Washington by way of Ohio, having served as the abstinence education coordinator for her home state’s Department of Health from 2004 to 2007, before forming Ascend, an organization dedicated to abstinence education on a national level.” [Daily Beast, 5/28/17]

Huber Founded REACH Of Southwestern Ohio To Teach Abstinence To School-Aged Children. “Valerie Huber would like to see Darke County students perform below the national average. That is, below the national average for teen promiscuity, and drug and alcohol abuse. Huber is director of Responsibility Education for Abstinence and Character, or REACH, an Arcanum-based nonprofit organization that provides resources for the promotion of abstinence before marriage to Darke County schools. A recent survey revealed that county youth ranked with the national average in drug and alcohol abuse, Huber said. ‘And while sexual activity among teens nationwide has decreased, locally the numbers have risen,’ she said. ‘We would think, being a rural area, we would be way below national average in both drug and alcohol use, but for the last couple of years that has not been the case.’ Huber hopes the organization, which has support from parents and the community, will help the students develop the character and value system they need to make the right choices in tempting situations.” [Dayton Daily News, 4/20/00]

…Despite Being In Charge Of Family Planning, Huber Criticized Comprehensive Sex Education And Stated Her Desire For Congress To Eliminate HHS’ Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program.

Huber Said Sex Education Classes Make Teens Feel Pressured To Have Sex.  “It is an approach that has been alternatively named teen pregnancy prevention or so-called comprehensive sex education, but which typically normalizes teen sex.  In fact, teens report that these programs make them feel pressured to have sex. More pressured to have sex, in fact, than the pressure they feel from their dating partners.”
 [The Hill, 3/12/17]

Huber Said She Hopes Congress Eliminates the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program. Huber told NPR in a radio interview that her office is “hopeful that Congress will eliminate the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program.” Throughout the interview Huber panned the TPP's effectiveness, claiming that the program had no impact or negative impact on 73 percent of teens who received it. Moving forward, she said HHS would focus on learning "what are the factors that are most likely to help young people avoid risk…" When asked how HHS intended to learn these "factors," Huber said they would look at “current social science research” and the TPP program to determine “what are the messages that move youth toward making risk-free choices…” [All Sides with Ann Fisher, 8/23/17; 47:33 to 52:04] 

…She Also Advocated For Sex-Ed To Be Based On “Biblical Standards.” 

Huber Has Stated That Sex Education Should Focus On “Biblical Standards.” In Her 2009 Master's Thesis, Huber Wrote That Christians "Should Promote Biblical Standards" In Sex Education. She further discussed the immorality of pre-marital sex, writing, "Scripture is replete with examples where sexual immorality derailed a promising life. Sexual sins were common in Scripture and are common today. The Bible is very clear about God's standards for sex. In both the Old and New Testaments, God relates the beauty of sex within marriage and the destructive nature of sexual behavior outside of marriage (I Corinthians 7:2, Hebrews 13:4, Proverbs 6:29, Song of Solomon)." [Valerie Huber Master's Thesis, 2009]

…Huber Disputed Multiple Government, Academic And Clinical Studies Questioning The Effectiveness Of Abstinence Education.

Huber Called A Congressional Report About Ohio’s Abstinence-Only Curricula “Overly Inflated” And A “Misrepresentation.” “'The report is really a misrepresentation of the curriculum that we're using here in the state,' said Valerie Huber, abstinence-education coordinator for the Ohio Department of Health. 'Almost without exception, there have been things taken out of context and gross mischaracterizations of the actual quote.' The critical report…was prepared for Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., ranking minority member of the U.S. House Committee on Government Reform. It says that 11 of the 13 most widely used abstinence-only curricula contain misinformation. According to the report, the programs underestimate the effectiveness of condoms in preventing pregnancy and the spread of disease, exaggerate the risks of abortion, blur science and religion, and promote stereotypes. The programs are used by hospitals, school districts and community groups that receive federal funding. Six groups in Ohio use curriculas deemed questionable by the report, according to information from the Health Department. Those programs served more than 64,000 children in the 2000-01 school year. Huber said she went through the report and compared many of the statements about curriculas used in Ohio with the materials. 'Things were really overly inflated in this report,' she said.” [Columbus Dispatch, 1/2/05]

A University Researcher Was Shocked After Studying Huber’s State Abstinence Program, Afterwards Asking “What Decade Are We Living In.” “Some of the material wrongly suggests that HIV can be transmitted through tears and open-mouth kissing, among other concerns raised in a report by Dr. Scott Frank, director of Case Western Reserve University's public health program. 'I was surprised at what I found,' Frank said. 'Sometimes I found myself shaking my head wondering what decade are we living in'…Valerie Huber, who manages the abstinence education program at the Ohio Department of Health, said Frank's report was unfair and included misinformation and mischaracterizations of the state's programs. She said some of the curriculum that the report attributed to Ohio's programs is not used by the state. Huber added that there are positive results coming out of the state's abstinence programs. 'Ohio teens in increasing numbers are choosing to remain abstinent,' she said." [Associated Press, 6/6/05]

Huber, Who Is Not A Medical Professional, Disputed The American Academy Of Pediatricians’ Recommendations About Safe Sex For Teens. “In a new report, the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) issued its clearest denunciation yet of sex education programs that fail to offer comprehensive information on topics such as sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy prevention…'A health organization like the AAP should not be affirming a behavior that can compromise the health of youth,' said Valerie Huber, the president of Ascend, a group that promotes abstinence-centric sex education and advocates for federal funding. The group was formerly known as the formerly the National Abstinence Education Association. 'They recommend ‘responsible sex’ for young adolescents. Exactly what is responsible sexual activity for adolescents?…The science is clear that teens are healthier when they avoid all sexual activity.' Moreover, Huber said, programs that 'normalize teen sex' are unpopular with many parents. 'Most communities do not support the type of sex education they recommend,' she said." [The Guardian, 7/18/16]

Huber’s Career At The Ohio Department Of Health Was Riddled With Controversy And Discriminatory Practices

Huber Was Suspended By The Ohio Department Of Health For Neglect Of Duty And Recommended For Punishment For Violating Ethic Laws Before Resigning Her Position.

Huber Was Suspended By The Ohio Department Of Health For Neglect Of Duty After Engaging In Self-Dealing. “Despite its uncertain effectiveness, Huber continued to oversee the abstinence program, and its some $23 million in state and federal funds. Then, in January 2006, she became the focus of an internal investigation and subsequent inquiry by the Ohio Ethics Commission, according to human resources documents retrieved by The Daily Beast. Internal auditors found that Huber had awarded a contract to a marketing company to develop a pro-abstinence media campaign for which she served as the statutory agent. Internally, Huber was found guilty of 'neglect of duty' and was ordered to serve a one-day working suspension. In a disciplinary letter, Ohio’s then-director of health, Dr. Nick Baird wrote that Huber’s actions “created an appearance of impropriety and a possible lack of confidence.” [Daily Beast, 5/28/17]

The Department Recommended “Actions Against Huber For Violation Of Ethic Laws.” “Investigation documents recommended actions against Huber for violation of ethic laws be taken up by the Ohio Ethics Commission. Those inquiry records are not public. [Daily Beast, 5/28/17]

Huber Resigned From The Department And To Form Her Anti-Birth Control, Abstinence-Only Organization. “Huber officially resigned from Ohio’s Department of Health in January of 2007, and quickly formed the National Abstinence Educators Association—a lobbying arm of the abstinence education industry, later known as Ascend, and rebranded abstinence education as 'sexual risk avoidance.'” [Daily Beast, 5/28/17]

As An Employee Of Ohio’s DHS, Huber Was Criticized By AIDS-Awareness Groups.

Huber Was Criticized By AIDS-Awareness Groups In Ohio For Holding Conferences That Excluded Gays And Lesbians With A “Wait Until Marriage” Message That “Refused To Mention Condoms.” “During her time at Ohio’s DHS, Huber was criticized by AIDS-awareness groups in the state for holding conferences that excluded gays and lesbians with a ‘wait until marriage’ message that refused to mention condoms, as well as using federal funding to purchase materials that contained ‘false, misleading, or distorted information’ about contraception, abortion, and blurred the lines between religion and science—an assessment that Huber at the time called ‘an out of context and gross mischaracterization.’” [Daily Beast, 5/28/17

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