Search form

Group 4 Created with Sketch.
Back to HHS Watch

Wade Horn

Unspecified position, Immediate Office of the Secretary

Wade Horn spent nearly a decade working in the field of child psychology before joining President George H.W. Bush’s HHS, where he served as Commissioner of the Administration for Children, Youth, and Families and Chief of the Children's Bureau. After the first Bush administration ended, Horn became president of the National Fatherhood Initiative; an organization that was criticized for “exaggerating and distorting research on the effects on children of being fatherless to promote traditional, patriarchal family structures.” As president of NFI, Horn frequently advocated for policies aimed at stigmatizing and punishing single mothers.

In 2001, President George W. Bush appointed Horn Assistant Secretary for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF). While at ACF, he zealously promoted traditional marriage and abstinence-only education. He resigned from ACF in 2007, as Congress was preparing to examine his spending, which had been marked by cronyism. Horn immediately took a job as managing director of Deloitte’s public sector practice. He has since become leader of Deloitte’s health and human services marketplace division. Despite working at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), he does not appear to have given up his role at Deloitte.


While Horn’s exact position at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is unknown, given his background, his presence at the agency is a threat to women’s access to reproductive healthcare. In addition to being anti-abortion, he spent over a decade advocating for policies aimed at stigmatizing and punishing single mothers, and has expressed views that show disregard for the health and safety of women.

Horn is an ardent proponent of abstinence-only education; during his time as head of President George W. Bush’s Administration for Children and Families (ACF), he sharply opposed comprehensive sex education while openly ignoring extensive evidence that abstinence-only education was not working. He also funneled abstinence-only education money to anti-abortion groups and centers.


Managing director, Public Sector Practice/Health and Human Services Marketplace leader at Deloitte, 2007 – present

Assistant Secretary at HHS Administration for Children and Families, 2001 –2007

President of the National Fatherhood Initiative, 1994 – 2001

Commissioner of Children, Youth, and Families and Chief of the Children’s Bureau at HHS Administration for Children and Families, 1989 – 1993


Alma Golden:

Alma Golden served as HHS’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Population Affairs while Horn was head of the ACF. Horn and Golden were among “several key officials in HHS have presided over the [Bush administration’s] ambitious abstinence agenda, one they championed before joining the administration and which many sex educators and health specialists argue is based more on ideology than science.” Golden currently works at the US Agency for International Development as Deputy Assistant Administrator of the Bureau for Global Health. She recently served as part of a US delegation that “put the World Health Organization (WHO) on notice that it should stop its abortion activism.” At the meeting, Golden said: “We have stated clearly, and on many occasions, consistent with the International Conference on Population [and Development] Program of Action, that we do not recognize abortion as a method of family planning, nor do we support abortion in our reproductive health assistance. The term sexual and reproductive health does not include the promotion of abortion nor do we recognize an international right to abortion.”

Shepherd and Anita Smith:

The Smiths are anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ activists. They run the Institute for Youth Development (IYD) and the Children’s AIDS Fund, which, the Nation reported, “Have long played a role in pushing socially conservative approaches to AIDS–mandatory HIV testing, opposition to condoms and needle exchange and an abstinence-only approach to HIV prevention–and questioning condom efficacy through the creative manipulation of data.” In a speech to Concerned Women For America, Anita Smith said her cause was engaged in “a power struggle between homosexual white men who abuse all the government AIDS programs fundamentally to fund their subculture and their political activities.” Horn sat on IYD’s board of directors before joining the ACF. While Horn was at ACF, the agency gave IYD millions of dollars in grants for abstinence-only education programs.

Raymond Ruddy:

Raymond Ruddy is a right-wing multimillionaire. His Gerard Health Foundation gave millions of dollars to anti-abortion organizations, including A Woman’s Concern, Live Action, Concerned Women For America, Focus On the Family, and The Family Research Council. The Nation reported that, “As head of the National Fatherhood Initiative, [Horn] had worked with [Ruddy’s for-profit company] Maximus...Ruddy’s ties at HHS were further strengthened when Horn brought in another National Fatherhood Initiative staffer, Jeffrey Trimbath, to head ACF’s abstinence-only education program–and when one of Ruddy’s project directors at Maximus, Grant Collins, was hired at HHS to oversee welfare contracts. These ties would prove lucrative in the coming years, not only in padding Maximus’s bottom line but also in pushing Ruddy’s right-wing religious agenda.”


Horn Suggested Paying Women To Get And Remain Married”:

Horn wrote: “Fourth, Congress should implement incentives for marriage. It could, for example, suspend collection of child support arrearages owed the state should the biological parents get married. It also could require states to follow West Virginia’s lead and provide a cash bonus to single mothers on welfare who marry the child’s biological father. More dramatically, Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation suggests providing a woman at high risk of bearing a child out of wedlock a $5,000 cash payment if she bears her first child within marriage, to be disbursed in $1,000 annual payments over five years as long as she remains married. Although controversial, the proposal makes an important point. Marriage is in trouble, especially in low-income communities. If we are serious about restoring marriage, public policy will have to do more than simply strive toward marriage neutrality by removing existing financial disincentives for marriage. It needs to show that it values marriage by rewarding those who choose it.” [Brookings Institution, 6/1/2001]

Horn Puts Ideology Over Evidence: When Presented With Data Showing That Abstinence-Only Education Was Ineffective, Horn Said “I Don’t Need A Study”:

“The new chief of the federal program to promote sexual abstinence--dubbed the ‘chastity czar’--says he wants to make it socially acceptable for American teens to just say ‘no’ to sex…A report issued last month by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), questioned the effectiveness of the federally funded abstinence programs. ‘I don't think we ought to be using taxpayer money for any program that's not proven to be effective,’  Waxman said. ‘At a time when we have all these sexually transmitted diseases exploding all around us, particularly HIV/AIDS, we need effective programs.’ Independent researchers have been unable to prove any significant benefits from abstinence-only education. At Columbia University, researchers determined that teenagers who take virginity pledges may delay sexual activity, but 88 percent have sex before marriage. Responding to the claim that there is no data showing abstinence is effective, Horn says: ‘I don't need a study to show me that the only 100 percent effective way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease is abstinence.’” [Chicago Tribune, 12/8/2004]


Wade Horn Strongly Opposes Abortion, Even When The Woman’s Life Is In Danger

Horn Is Strongly Anti-Abortion And Does Not Believe In Exceptions If The Woman’s Life Is In Danger

Horn Became A Republican Because Of His “Strong Anti-Abortion Views.” “In 1972, [Horn] was a George McGovern volunteer. His first hero was Robert Kennedy. ‘I am attracted to those who want to make the world a better place. I am a pretty idealistic guy,’ he says. He left the Democratic fold when it became an uncomfortable place for his strong anti-abortion views and his belief that Democrats like talking more than action.” [USA Today, 7/30/2002]

Horn Wrote That He Opposes Abortion “Except In Cases Of Rape Or Incest.” “In a column published earlier this year, Horn also opposed a woman’s right to an abortion, writing ‘except in cases of rape and incest, both the man and the woman must take responsibility for any human life that results from their moment of passion.’” [Women’s News, 6/22/2001]

Horn Is Anti-Woman: Horn Pushed Policies That Hurt Women And Once Wrote That “The Husband Is The Head Of The Wife”

Horn Wrote That “The Husband Is The Head Of The Wife Just As Christ Is The Head Of The Church.” “Horn also used his column to come to the defense of the Southern Baptist Convention, which in 1998 had proclaimed that a wife should "submit" to her husband's ‘servant leadership’ and serve as his ‘helper.’ While women's groups expressed outrage, Horn quoted from the New Testament that ‘the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the Church’ and explained that while Dad may be the boss, true ‘servant-leadership’ is humble and self-sacrificing.” [Washington Monthly, 5/1/2002]

Horn Sat On The Board Of The Independent Women’s Forum, Which Opposed The Violence Against Women Act, Gender Equity In Sports And The Women’s Educational Equity Act. “The group, the Independent Women's Forum, champions a laissez-faire brand of conservatism that stresses limited government, free-market capitalism and personal responsibility, but with a gendered twist…Wade Horn, who heads the National Fatherhood Initiative, served on the forum's advisory board before he was tapped to be assistant secretary for family support at the Department of Health and Human Services… The forum continues its high-profile but so far ineffective opposition to the 1994 Violence Against Women Act, which was reauthorized by Congress last year as an attempt to combat domestic violence. It argues that the law is not helpful to assault victims, gives too much authority to the government, is based on exaggerated claims of domestic violence and is being used by feminists as part of an ideological war against men… The forum has also led a campaign against gender equity in sports under Title IX, a law approved by Congress in 1972 that prohibits sex discrimination in ‘any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.’…The forum also opposes reauthorization of the Women's Educational Equity Act, which provides schools with materials and programs to combat sex discrimination. They strongly dispute the underlying rationale for the law -- that girls were being shortchanged by schools, pointing to data showing that suggests it is boys who consistently underperform in school and disproportionately suffer from low self-esteem. The legislation is nothing more than a ‘feminist pork barrel,’ according to a forum policy summary.” [Washington Post, 5/1/2001]

Horn Wrote That Women Having Marriage Trouble Should Avoid Individual Counseling Because Therapists Might Encourage Them To Seek A Divorce. “While this gender difference can form a nice complement when it comes to parenting, it also can be the cause of marital discord. Since wives are more focused on the process of marriage, they are usually first to sense something going wrong in the relationship. So, when a wife approaches her husband about her concerns, he frequently reacts with genuine surprise that she would think there is a problem. When such difficulties emerge, the worst thing a wife can do is precisely what too many wives do: She enters individual counseling. Rather than helping to improve the marriage, individual counseling often makes the situation worse. That's because an unhealthy alliance can develop between the therapist and the wife against the husband. As a result, the counselor may give subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, encouragement for the wife to leave this cad of a husband who is causing her so much misery.” [Washington Times, 9/5/2000]

Horn Headed A “Misogynistic” And “Patriarchal” Organization That Promoted Antiquated Family Structures

The National Fatherhood Foundation Was Criticized For “Exaggerating And Distorting Research On The Effects On Children Of Being Fatherless To Promote Traditional, Patriarchal Family Structures.” “The NFI was founded in 1994 by Reagan White House aide Don Eberly; Wade Horn, former (Bush 41) commissioner for children, youth and families; and Institute for American Values founder David Blankenhorn. Their mission: promote the well-being of children by increasing the number of involved fathers, using high-profile advertising campaigns on television, radio, print, Internet and billboards. In 2001, Eberly and Horn left to work for the current President Bush: Eberly as deputy assistant for faith-based and community initiatives and Horn as assistant HHS secretary for children and families. NFI officially is nonprofit and nonpartisan but it leans to the right, with funding from conservative groups such as the Bradley and Scaife family foundations. Supporters praise the group for educational and outreach programs. Critics charge that it exaggerates and distorts research on the effects on children of being fatherless to promote traditional, patriarchal family structures.” [Washington Post, 4/20/2005]

The National Organization For Women Called The National Fatherhood Initiative “Misogynistic.” “The National Organization for Women (NOW) is denouncing a House bill that it says will give millions of dollars to what it calls ‘misogynistic’ fatherhood groups, such as the National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI)…NOW sent out an action alert, saying the bill ‘has been crafted specifically to underwrite so-called fathers' rights or men's custody groups and to fund such misogynistic organizations as Wade Horn’s National Fatherhood Initiative.’ Unless important changes are made in the House bill, NOW said, ‘it is a step backwards for both mothers and fathers.’ Mr. Horn, president of the NFI, agreed that "the more radical and extreme women’s groups, who basically don't like marriage, don't like the fatherhood movement very much." [Washington Times, 6/17/2000]

When Horn Was Nominated To Join The George W. Bush Administration, NOW Warned That Based On His Previous Work, He Was “A Major Threat To Women.” “NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, the oldest and largest national legal advocacy organization for women, opposes the nomination of Wade Horn as Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Family Support. Horn is the president and founder of the National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI).  In his column, ‘Fatherly Advice,’ published in the Washington Times, on the NFI website and in papers published by the Hudson Institute, he advocates many public policy positions that threaten women's health and financial equality. With Wade Horn as Assistant Secretary for Family Support, we fear a Department of Health and Human Services that will: -- Discriminate against single-parent families headed by divorced, separated, or never-married parents….Discriminate against families where both parents live in the home but  are not married…Promote public policies that increase the risk of domestic violence. He opposes no-fault divorce, advocates mandatory reconciliation efforts and mandatory pre-divorce counseling.  Further, he proposes that custody determinations should be replaced by co-parenting plans, and that welfare benefits for single mother families should be conditioned on the mother's  cooperation with visitation orders; -- Promote religious gender-based stereotypes, and a sexual morality that many have rejected.  Horn asserts that females who are raised by single mothers have ‘a tendency toward early and promiscuous sexual activity.’  (A Girl Needs Dad's Love as Much as a Boy Does, September 14, 1999).  Horn also analogizes young males to savage beasts who can be restrained from violence only by the civilizing presence of their fathers (Of Elephants and Men, July 4, 2000); -- Actively oppose a woman's right to an abortion. Horn's appointment is a major threat to women, especially low-income single mothers.  His principle theme is that increasing the incidence of two-parent families will solve the contemporary social problems of our society for which he blames single-mother families.  Horn has no apparent interest in improving family well being other than by promoting marriage.  Married couples living together with their children are Horn's family ideal; he believes any other family arrangement should not be supported by social policy.”  [PR Newswire, 5/16/2001]

Horn Advocated For Policies That Would Punish Single Mothers And Encourage Women To Stay With Abusive Partners

Immediately Before Joining The Bush Administration, Horn Advocated For Policies That Would Punish Single Mothers

Horn Wrote That When Distributing Welfare Benefits, The Government Should Prioritize Married Two-Parent Households Over Single-Parent Households. “In a paper published by the Hudson Institute in 1997, Dr. Horn said the government should ‘give preference to two-parent married households’ when distributing benefits in limited supply, under programs like Head Start, public housing, job training and financial aid for education. ‘If we want to revitalize marriage in low-income neighborhoods, we will have to reverse the current preference for single-parent households and favor married couples,' Dr. Horn wrote. ‘Only after all income-eligible married, two-parent families are offered the benefit should it become available for income-eligible, single-parent families.’” [New York Times, 6/7/2001]

  • During His 2001 Senate Confirmation Hearing, Horn Claimed To Have Abandoned The Idea…” In 1997, Horn suggested reversing the incentive. He said married couples should get preferential treatment in public benefits such as housing and Head Start. Women's groups complained that this could trap poor women in abusive marriages because they stood to lose their benefits if they lost their husbands. About 90 groups opposed Horn's nomination to the HHS job. In his Senate confirmation hearing, Horn renounced these views, and easily was confirmed.” [LA Times, 9/24/2001]

  • …But It Appears He Did So Only Because It Was “Politically Unworkable.” A source very close to Mr. Horn, however, told WORLD that the nominee has come to believe that giving preference to married couples is politically unworkable, and that Mr. Horn would not advocate that at HHS.” [World Magazine, 6/21/2001]

Horn Suggested Paying Women To Get And Remain Married.” Horn: “Fourth, Congress should implement incentives for marriage. It could, for example, suspend collection of child support arrearages owed the state should the biological parents get married. It also could require states to follow West Virginia’s lead and provide a cash bonus to single mothers on welfare who marry the child’s biological father. More dramatically, Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation suggests providing a woman at high risk of bearing a child out of wedlock a $5,000 cash payment if she bears her first child within marriage, to be disbursed in $1,000 annual payments over five years as long as she remains married. Although controversial, the proposal makes an important point. Marriage is in trouble, especially in low-income communities. If we are serious about restoring marriage, public policy will have to do more than simply strive toward marriage neutrality by removing existing financial disincentives for marriage. It needs to show that it values marriage by rewarding those who choose it.” [Brookings Institution, 6/1/2001]

Horn Advocated For Marriage Policies That Could Encourage Women To Stay With Or Return To Abusive Partners

Horn Praised A Proposal That Housing Officials Criticized As An “Imprudent Attempt To Lure Fathers Back Into The Home With…Bribes.” “HUD had proposed that public housing authorities offer financial incentives to encourage fathers to move back in with their children. The suggested perks, including reduced rent for up to three years and preference for scarce rent subsidy vouchers, were part of a broad regulatory fatherhood initiative jettisoned by HUD last week in favor of voluntary local efforts. State and local housing officials had ridiculed the HUD proposal as an imprudent attempt to lure fathers back into the home with what one housing official called bribes… ‘It was a terrific initiative, and I am very disappointed that they have withdrawn it,’ said Wade Horn, president of the National Fatherhood Initiative. He said the federal government gives mere lip service to efforts to strengthen the role of fathers in American society, then balks at translating rhetoric into action.” [Washington Post, 11/3/1997]

Horn Testified In Favor Of A Marriage Promotion Bill That Women’s Advocates Worried Would Encourage Women “To Stay In Abusive Relationships To Keep A Roof Over Their Heads. “When the House passed the Fathers Count Act by a lopsided vote of 328 to 93 on November 10, it was hailed by Beltway conservatives and liberals alike as a landmark step toward dealing with those left out of the welfare debate: fathers. If passed by the Senate, the legislation would provide $ 160 million over five years to organizations that provide men with job search training, teach them parenting skills and ‘promote marriage.’ For the bill's backers, bringing fathers back into the fold is perhaps the most important step that can be taken for poor families. ‘Violent criminals are overwhelmingly males who grew up without fathers, including up to 60 percent of rapists, 75 percent of adolescents charged with murder, and 70 percent of juveniles in state reform institutions,’ testified Wade Horn, a former Bush administration official who is now president of the National Fatherhood Initiative…For his part, Horn insists that the goal of the legislation is not to force women to marry their batterers, but fund programs like San Diego's ‘Boot Camp for New Dads’ that promote parenting and relationship skills for fathers. But welfare researcher Lisa Dodson warns that these programs could end up promoting exactly the type of masculinity that is contributing to some men's problems.” [In These Times, 2/7/2000]

Horn Advocated For A Proposal That Women’s Advocates Said Incentivized Abused Women To Return To Their Abusers. “An administration proposal advancing through Congress would set aside $300 million to help men and women sick of the single life get married and stay married till death does them part. The money - targeted at welfare recipients hard-pressed to pay for premarital education - would go toward counseling sessions and workshops that develop skills important to healthy marriages… Advocates for welfare recipients worry the initiative would propel the wrong people into marriage. Many women on welfare are victims of domestic abuse. The American Psychological Association cites a study's finding that 65 percent of female welfare recipients in Massachusetts had been abused by a current or former boyfriend or spouse.… [Wade] Horn insisted that the intent was not ‘moving marriage rates.’ Far from recommending marriage in every instance, counselors work to dissuade couples if the home would not be safe. ‘It never should be the case where domestic violence is happening and we say, 'Just get married, and it will go away,'’ Horn said. Critics also worry that private contractors may infuse taxpayer-funded seminars with religious messages, breaching church-state boundaries.” [Philadelphia Inquirer, 3/2/2003]

Dubbed President George W. Bush’s “Chastity Czar,” Horn Zealously Promoted Abstinence-Only Education Despite Extensive Evidence That The Programs Were Ineffective

Horn’s Takeover Of The Bush Administration’s Abstinence Education Programs Was Seen As A Major Victory By Abstinence-Only Supporters

Horn’s Takeover Of The Bush Administration’s Largest Abstinence Programs Was “Cheered” By Abstinence-Only Supporters, Who Saw Him As More Committed To Their Goals. ”Abstinence-education supporters are cheering the recent move of the nation's two largest abstinence-grant programs to a new - and friendlier - agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), which is led by child psychologist Wade Horn, recently received oversight of the $50 million Title V and $104 million community-based abstinence-education grant programs. ‘Wade Horn's leadership and commitment to abstinence will be a tremendous benefit to abstinence education,’ Bruce Cook, founder of Choosing the Best abstinence program, said of the HHS assistant secretary in charge of ACF. Mr. Horn ‘will do a wonderful job of promoting the [abstinence] message with the passion and commitment it deserves,’ said Libby Gray, director of the Project Reality abstinence group in Glenview, Ill…The reassignment of the two abstinence programs, which was authorized in the recent spending bill, comes after years of grumbling from abstinence supporters that MCHB officials didn't want to promote abstinence education as Congress narrowly defined it and sometimes gave grants to groups that also promoted the use of condoms.” [Washington Times, 12/30/2004]

Supporters Of Comprehensive Sex Education Called Horn’s Takeover “Ideology Trumping Science.” “To other observers, moving the abstinence programs from HHS' Health Resources and Services Administration's Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) to Mr. Horn's agency is ‘ideology trumping science.’ Abstinence funds will become part of the same federal agency that promotes marriage and responsible fatherhood, said Marcela Howell, public-policy director at Advocates for Youth, which supports comprehensive sexuality education. ‘We're concerned about the politics that may go into the oversight of these programs,’ she said. Mr. Horn ‘clearly has an ideology to push...It's clearly very political.’” [Washington Times, 12/30/2004]

Horn Openly Ignored Extensive Evidence That Abstinence-Only Education Was Ineffective

While Horn Was At ACF, Abstinence-Only Education Funding Saw A Dramatic Increase… “The administration requested $272 million for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1 for abstinence-until-marriage programs, up from $138 million in fiscal year 2004 and well above the $60 million at the end of the Clinton administration. It sought almost as much as the $278 million that went to family planning clinics in 2004 under another federal program, Title X, that has been flat-funded under Bush. Congress has not completed action, but the House voted a record $173 million for abstinence programs and the Senate appropriations committee approved nearly $175 million. Several key officials in HHS have presided over the ambitious abstinence agenda, one they championed before joining the administration and which many sex educators and health specialists argue is based more on ideology than science. Proponents include Claude Allen, deputy secretary for Health and Human Services, a conservative who has been nominated for a federal judgeship; Wade Horn, assistant secretary for children and families and a proponent of marriage as a solution to poverty.” [Newsday, 10/22/2004]

…Despite Significant Evidence That The Programs Didn’t Work. “But critics say there is little data to justify rapid expansion of abstinence education, which they regard as an unproven intervention that ultimately may do as much harm as good among those who become sexually active without adequate information on contraceptives and disease prevention. ‘There is no scientific evidence to suggest that abstinence-only-until marriage curriculums are effective in preventing HIV or other STDs [sexually transmitted diseases] or even pregnancy,’ said Judith Auerbach, vice president for public policy of the American Foundation for AIDS Research. An immediate effect of the Bush initiative has been a financial windfall for some longtime advocates of abstinence education, critics say. Grants have gone to groups that create curriculum for abstinence courses, further fueling the growth of programs, said William Smith, director of public policy for the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. The group, which promotes comprehensive sex education that deals with contraceptive options, has examined some of the abstinence-only teaching materials and found them wanting. The group has criticized as ‘fear-based’ a curriculum by Teen-Aid Inc. of Spokane, Wash., that compares relying on condoms to prevent disease to playing Russian roulette… Public health specialists say consistent use of condoms is highly effective in reducing the risk of AIDS. Though a federal study panel said in 2001 there is insufficient data on the effectiveness of condoms against most other sexually transmitted diseases, it said that ‘should not be interpreted as proof of the adequacy or inadequacy’ of condoms to reduce risk of those diseases.” [Newsday, 10/22/2004]

  • Meanwhile, The Bush Administration Stopped Using Data-Based Performance Measures To Evaluate Its Abstinence-Only Programs’ Effectiveness. “Michael Young, University of Arkansas professor of health science and developer of an abstinence curriculum called ‘Sex Can Wait,’ said many programs lack published evaluations in peer-reviewed journals. ‘The amount of money being spent on this is pretty ridiculous when you look at the lack of accountability for outcomes,’ he said. In 2000, at the end of the Clinton administration, HHS developed performance measures for abstinence programs that included the birth rate of female participants and percentage of participants who have intercourse before marriage. The Bush administration dropped those in favor of attitudinal measures such as ‘the proportion of youth who commit to abstain from sexual activity until marriage.’” [Newsday, 10/22/2004]

When Presented With Data Showing That Abstinence-Only Education Was Ineffective, Horn Said “I Don’t Need A Study.” “The new chief of the federal program to promote sexual abstinence--dubbed the ‘chastity czar’--says he wants to make it socially acceptable for American teens to just say ‘no’ to sex…A report issued last month by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), questioned the effectiveness of the federally funded abstinence programs. ‘I don't think we ought to be using taxpayer money for any program that's not proven to be effective,’  Waxman said. ‘At a time when we have all these sexually transmitted diseases exploding all around us, particularly HIV/AIDS, we need effective programs.’ Independent researchers have been unable to prove any significant benefits from abstinence-only education. At Columbia University, researchers determined that teenagers who take virginity pledges may delay sexual activity, but 88 percent have sex before marriage. Responding to the claim that there is no data showing abstinence is effective, Horn says: ‘I don't need a study to show me that the only 100 percent effective way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease is abstinence.’” [Chicago Tribune, 12/8/2004]

Horn Said His Goal Was To Get Teens To Choose Abstinence, “Not To Determine Whether Abstinence-Only Programs Work.” “Horn expressed the President’s belief in abstinence education, despite the ‘over the top’ rhetoric of opponents. Horn said that as many as 14,000 children contract an STD in the United States each day – considerably more than the figure of 8,000 cited on the HHS-run website. Horn concluded by saying that the goal should not be to determine whether abstinence-only programs work, but rather to determine the best way to get kids to make that choice.” [National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, 1/13/2006]

Horn Sharply Opposed Comprehensive Sex Education, Saying That Teaching Teens About Birth Control In Addition To Abstinence Creates “Mixed Messages”

Horn Said “Our Goal Is For Young People To Be Sexually Abstinent. Let’s Not Muddy That Message.” “And I think there is a difference between prevention and intervention on this issue. Prevention ought to be clear about what is our goal, what’s our goal. Our goal is for young people to be sexually abstinent. Let’s not muddy that message by providing them all sorts of other information about contraception, and particularly practice the use of contraception, which a lot of abstinence programs do. That then provides with very much a double message. Let’s again remind ourselves, abstinence is 100 percent effective, contraception is not.” [Senate Hearing, 2/16/2004]

Horn Said That Teens Should Not Be Taught How To Use Condoms And Birth Control In Addition To Abstinence Because It Creates “Mixed Messages.” “A clinical child psychologist who led the Bush administration's initiative to promote healthy marriages and oversees the Head Start program, Horn says he's ‘passionate’ about teenage sexual abstinence. ‘I'm a goal guy,’ he said. ‘The only thing that's unstoppable is time.’ Horn blames Hollywood for giving ‘irresponsible’ messages that casual sex has no consequences. ‘It's undeniable that the only 100 percent effective way of preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease is to be sexually abstinent,’ Horn says…Horn is sharply critical of comprehensive sex education programs that include information about using contraception and condoms, saying they create ‘mixed messages’ that can cause confusion. For example, he says, ‘Imagine I am leaving on a trip and my wife says, `I love you and I trust you but bring a condom in the briefcase just in case. As a psychologist, I'm saying the best prevention messages are focused and consistent. You don't hand out low-tar cigarettes to youths when you are saying it's not a good idea to smoke.’” [Chicago Tribune, 12/8/2004]

Horn Said That Condoms Should Only Be Discussed In Terms Of Their Ineffectiveness. “[Senator Tom Coburn] renewed the STD sessions in the Senate and has also been pushing the Health and Human Services Department to require condom makers to add labels stressing the unreliability of their product in protecting against the spread of human papillomavirus (HPV), which can lead to cervical cancer. That's been a Coburn cause since 2000, his last year in the House, when he got a requirement that HHS study the labeling issue added to the department's annual spending bill. The same year, Congress also cleared a related Coburn measure mandating that HHS provide ‘medically accurate’ information about condoms in all federally funded public health programs addressing the threat of STDs. What Coburn probably did not expect, however, was that this month the Government Accountability Office -- acting on a request from Democratic Rep. Henry A. Waxman of California -- notified the department that the law should also be read to require that any federally funded abstinence program include a discussion of condoms…But Wade Horn, the HHS assistant secretary who heads the department's Administration for Children and Families, is sticking with HHS's original interpretation of the Coburn law. All that the law requires, he says, is for abstinence-ed programs that already discuss condoms to be medically accurate in sizing up their effectiveness. It does not amount to a compulsory requirement, he argues: ‘Some believe the law says that if you discuss STDs, then you must also discuss condoms. We disagree with that reading.’ Horn says he isn't sure how many HHS-funded abstinence programs currently discuss condoms. But the agency has no objection to that practice -- so long as it doesn't become a how-to course in condom use, or treat condoms as a primary means to combat sexually transmitted disease.” [Congressional Quarterly Weekly, 10/27/2006]

Horn Said “Advising Pediatricians To Ensure That Teens Have Access To Emergency Contraception Is Problematic For Doctors And Parents Who Morally Object To The Pills.” [AP, 7/5/2005]

Horn Revised Federal Grant Guidelines To Include Unmarried Adults In Abstinence-Only Education Programs — Despite The Fact That 90 Percent Of Adults Have Had Sex

Horn Revised Guidelines To Target Unmarried Adults Up To The Age Of 29; The Move Was Called “An Ideological Campaign” That Had “Nothing To Do With Public Health. ”Now the government is targeting unmarried adults up to age 29 as part of its abstinence-only programs, which include millions of dollars in federal money that will be available to the states under revised federal grant guidelines for 2007. The government says the change is a clarification. But critics say it's a clear signal of a more directed policy targeting the sexual behavior of adults.…The National Center for Health Statistics says well over 90 percent of adults ages 20 to 29 have had sexual intercourse. But Wade Horn, assistant secretary for children and families at the Department of Health and Human Services, said the revision is aimed at 19- to 29-year-olds because more unmarried women in that age group are having children. Government data released last month show that 998,262 births in 2004 were to unmarried women 19 to 29, the ages with the most births to unmarried women. ‘The message is 'It's better to wait until you're married to bear or father children,'’ Horn said. ‘The only 100 percent effective way of getting there is abstinence.’ The revised guidelines specify that states seeking grants are ‘to identify groups...most likely to bear children out-of-wedlock, targeting adolescents and/or adults within the 12- through 29-year-old age range.’ Previous guidelines didn't mention targeting of an age group. ‘We wanted to remind states they could use these funds not only to target adolescents,’ Horn said. ‘It's a reminder.’” [USA Today, 11/5/2006]

Under Horn’s Watch, Abstinence-Only Education Money Was Funneled To Anti-Abortion Groups And Crisis Pregnancy Centers

Tens Of Millions Of Dollars Of Abstinence-Only Education Money Overseen By Horn Was Funneled To Anti-Abortion Groups And Crisis Pregnancy Centers  

Horn’s Grants Funded “Hundreds Of Struggling Anti-Abortion And Pregnancy Crisis Centers.” ”The Community-Based Abstinence Education grant program was enacted by Congress in 2001, and $391.7 million has been appropriated for it… Hundreds of struggling antiabortion and pregnancy crisis centers have received federal grants that often doubled or tripled their annual budgets, allowing them to branch out and hire staff, especially for abstinence education. The Door of Hope Pregnancy Care Center in Madisonville, Ky., a small outfit of four part-time employees committed ‘to the belief in the sanctity of human life, primarily as it relates to the protection of the unborn,’ operated on an annual budget of $75,000 to $79,000, most of it raised from an annual banquet and a ‘walk for life.’ Last year, Door of Hope got an abstinence education grant of $317,017, allowing it to hire staff and expand. In Dyersburg, Tenn., the Life Choices Pregnancy Support Center, where the staff believes ‘without reservation or qualification that the Scriptures teach that human life begins at conception,’ had revenue of $81,621 and could pay Executive Director Natalie Wilson $12,247 in 2001. Two years later, the center got a $534,339 grant for abstinence education. By 2004, annual revenue totaled $617,355. Altogether, local antiabortion and crisis pregnancy centers have received well over $60 million in grants for abstinence education and other programs, according to a Post review of federal records.” [The Washington Post, 3/22/2006]

Crisis Pregnancy Centers Funded By Horn Were Caught Giving False Information About Health Risks Associated With Abortion. “Women who consult with pregnancy resource centers often get misleading information about the health risks associated with having an abortion, according to a report issued Monday by Democrats on the House Government Reform Committee. Congressional aides, posing as pregnant 17-year-olds, called 25 pregnancy centers that have received some federal funding over the past five years. The aides were routinely told of increased risk for cancer, infertility and stress disorders, said the report, which was prepared for Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif. Only a small fraction of the more than 4,000 pregnancy clinics nationwide get any federal funding, mostly for promoting sexual abstinence…The report from the Democratic aides also said the pregnancy resource centers provided false information about the mental health effects of abortion, telling the aides that it could cause severe long-term emotional harm…The Administration for Children and Families within the Department of Health and Human Services funds the abstinence programs overseen by some of the pregnancy centers. Aides referred questions about the report to Wade Horn, a Health and Human Services assistant secretary, who did not want to comment until he read the report.” [Associated Press, 7/18/2006]

Horn’s Tenure As Head Of The Administration For Children And Families Was Rife With Cronyism; He Resigned As Lawmakers Were Preparing To Look Into His Abstinence-Only Education Spending

During Horn’s Tenure At ACF, HHS Paid Journalists To Write Favorably About His Marriage Agenda; The Journalists Didn’t Disclose The Payments To Their Readers

HHS Paid At Least Two Journalists To Write Favorably About Horn’s Marriage Agenda; The Journalists Didn’t Disclose The Payments To Their Readers. ”A syndicated newspaper columnist received at least $4,000 from the Department of Health and Human Services for work in support of President Bush's effort to promote marriage, USA Today reports. Mike McManus is the third commentator to receive money from a federal agency to boost Bush policy initiatives…The newspaper said McManus had boosted the Bush marriage initiative in his column on several occasions since he began receiving government money in 2003…News of the McManus contract follows the disclosure that syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher was being paid $21,500 by HHS to push the White House's $300 million initiative to encourage marriage.” [CBS News, 1/26/2005]

  • Horn Previously Sat On The Board Of An Organization Run By One Of The Journalists; That Organization Received Grant Money From HHS. “USA Today also said Marriage Savers, a non-profit organization operated by McManus, received $49,000 from a group that receives HHS money to promote marriage to unwed couples who are having children. USA Today also reported that Wade Horn, the HHS official who manages McManus' contract with the agency, was quoted in at least three of the columns. Horn is a former member of the Marriage Savers board of directors, the newspaper said.” [CBS News, 1/26/2005]

During Horn’s Tenure At ACF, HHS Awarded Tens Of Millions Of Dollars In Grants And Contracts To Abstinence-Only, Marriage Promotion And Anti-Abortion Organizations Run By His Close Associates — Including One He Founded And One For Whom His Wife Was A “Chief Subcontractor”

During Horn’s Tenure At ACF, HHS Awarded Millions Of Dollars In Grants To The Organization He Founded: The National Fatherhood Initiative. ”One of the discriminatory grants has drawn allegations of cronyism from the women's advocates: $5 million awarded to the National Fatherhood Initiative, an organization previously directed by Wade Horn, the federal official in charge of the program under which the grant was made. HHS has not responded to a letter of complaint about this grant. Horn has previously been criticized for arguing that single parent families, most of whom are headed by women, should receive vital social services only if funding remains after all married families have been served. ‘The Bush administration has a history of enriching its friends, but Wade Horn takes the cake. His buddies at NFI-the organization he founded-already receive millions in government grants, and now Horn is sending another $5 million their way,’ said NOW President Kim Gandy.” [PR Newswire, 3/29/2007]

Prior To Joining The Bush Administration, Horn Sat On The Board Of The Institute For Youth Development, Which “Provides Training To Abstinence-Only Groups, Crisis Pregnancy Centers, ‘Healthy Marriage’ Programs And Other Bible-Based Ministries In How To Snare Government Grants.” When Horn Was At ACF, IYD Received Millions in HHS Grants… ”The Institute for Youth Development (IYD), which provides training to abstinence-only groups, crisis pregnancy centers, ‘healthy marriage’ programs and other Bible-based ministries in how to snare government grants, is even more connected than McIlhaney. Wade Horn served on IYD’s board of directors until he became ACF head in 2001 and remains on the editorial board of the organization’s journal, Adolescent and Family Health...Of all Ruddy’s favored abstinence-only groups, the IYD appears to have been the biggest federal beneficiary. In 2000 IYD had revenues of $270,000, $80,000 of that in government grants. Three years later IYD pulled in $4.1 million, nearly all–$3.8 million–coming in federal grants. Since Bush took office, IYD has received at least $11 million through HHS alone.” [The Nation, 5/31/2007]

…While Horn’s Wife Was IYD’s “Chief Subcontractor.” “To put icing on the cake, IYD’s chief subcontractor, Performance Results Inc., in Gaithersburg, Maryland, is run by Claudia Horn, Wade’s wife… In many cases this federal money seemed to flow not just to conservative organizations but to line the pockets of social conservatives themselves. Claudia Horn, through her firm Performance Results Inc., collects $1,551 per day for training groups in program and curriculum evaluation. According to its federal filing, PRI’s 2005 sales to state and local governments were $1.1 million, with an additional $250,000 coming from the Feds, including such clients as the Department of Justice, the Office of Personnel Management, and Housing and Urban Development. But Claudia Horn’s indirect public receipts are likely even higher, as her-private sector clients include IYD and the National Fatherhood Initiative (once headed by her husband, Wade), each of which is heavily funded through federal grants.” [The Nation, 5/31/2007]

When Horn Joined ACF, His Friend And Co-Author Launched A PR Firm Representing Abstinence And Anti-Abortion Groups; HHS Then Gave The Firm Millions Of Dollars In Contracts. “...Then there is Rosenberg Communications, headed by Wade Horn’s longtime friend and co-author Jeffrey Rosenberg, who served as communications director at Horn’s National Fatherhood Initiative. When Horn took his HHS job in 2001, Rosenberg launched his PR firm, which has since netted $8.8 million in contracts from HHS–contracts that account for the bulk of the two-man company’s income. Rosenberg’s client list is rounded out by some familiar names–most of them recipients of federal money: IYD, MISH, the Children’s AIDS Fund, Gerard, Focus on the Family and Pal-Tech, which joined IYD to run HHS’s multimillion-dollar capacity-building program for faith-based groups.” [The Nation, 5/31/2007]

Horn Resigned From The Bush Administration As Congress Was Preparing To Hold Hearings About And Makes Cuts To Abstinence-Only Education Spending

Horn Resigned As Democrats Were Preparing To Hold Hearings To Examine His Abstinence-Only Education Programs. ”Henry Waxman, the California Democrat who chairs the House government reform committee, is considering hearings on Bush’s abstinence programs–hearings that could expose the conservative pork barrel they’ve become. Since February–perhaps to avoid those Waxman subpoenas–three ACF directors have resigned. First to leave was Jeffrey Trimbath, who jumped to a fundraising post with the Heritage Foundation. A month later Keroack vacated his post. Then on April 2 Wade Horn announced his resignation.” [The Nation, 5/31/2007]

When Horn Resigned, Democratic Lawmakers Were Also Preparing To Cut Abstinence-Only Education Spending. “Abstinence-only educators are in Washington trying to keep Congress from cutting back their $176 million program to convince young people that saying no to too-early sex is the best policy. The programs grew 17-fold when Republicans controlled Congress, from $10 million in 1997 to $176 million program this year. Democratic lawmakers have introduced legislation to promote comprehensive sex education instead of abstinence-only curriculums. They want to send money to schools that stress abstinence while also instructing students about the health benefits and side effects of using contraceptives. Currently, Congress uses three different programs to finance abstinence education. The largest has grown in seven years from $20 million to $113 million. President George W. Bush is requesting $141 million next year. The second largest pot of money, $50 million, goes through the states, which match that funding with $3 for every $4 they get from the federal government. The programs teach that sex outside marriage is likely to be psychologically and physically harmful. The program, known as Title V, is set to expire this year, which will set the stage for a potential showdown over the program's future direction and financing levels. Wade Horn, who oversaw the two largest abstinence education programs until he resigned last week, predicted Congress will give states more flexibility in determining how Title V money is to be spent.” [AP, 4/10/2007]

Under The Trump Administration, Horn Has Returned To HHS, But He And HHS Spokespeople Refuse To Specify His Job Title Or Describe His Duties…

Horn Has Reportedly Been Working At HHS Full Time Since President Trump Took Office, But He And HHS Spokespeople Refuse To Answer Questions About His Role There

According To The HHS Employee Directory, Horn Works In The Immediate Office Of The Secretary; His Job Title Is Listed As “N/A.”

[, accessed 10/30/2018]

Even Though Horn Has Reportedly Been Working At HHS Full Time Since Trump Took Office, HHS Will Only Say That He Is A “Contractor”; HHS Refuses To Elaborate On His Official Duties. “Horn has flown surprisingly under the radar at HHS given his controversial history, perhaps because he hasn’t been officially nominated for a job or subjected to a confirmation hearing. Even Democrats on Capitol Hill who oversee the agency were not aware that he had returned. Horn has an official HHS email address, and he is listed in the HHS personnel directory as assigned to the immediate office of Secretary Tom Price. People who know him say he’s working for Price full time…When I asked HHS for more information about Horn’s role at the agency, including his hiring date and job description, spokesman Matt Lloyd responded by email, ‘Why are you asking?’ He later called me to ask about the ‘impetus’ for my story and demanded more information about it. He refused to answer any of my questions on the phone…Horn served on Trump’s HHS transition team, and once Trump took office, he came on board—but not as a government employee…An HHS spokesman eventually emailed me to confirm that Horn is a contractor but wouldn’t elaborate on his official duties. ‘Contractors do not have titles or job descriptions,’ he said. HHS officials did not respond to further inquiries as to what sort of contract Horn is working on.” [Mother Jones, 8/29/2017]

Horn Hasn’t Responded To Emails And Phone Calls Seeking Confirmation That Works At HHS. “Youth Services Insider had heard from a few folks close to the federal policy world that Wade Horn – who ran the child welfare wing of HHS under George W. Bush – had been brought in to consult for HHS Secretary Tom Price…So is Horn helping out at HHS? The department won’t say, and that appears to be their formal position on discussing anyone who is working for them. ‘We are not commenting on personnel at this time,’ said Alleigh Marre, national spokesperson for HHS, in an email to YSI after we twice requested confirmation of Horn’s role. Horn himself did not respond to emails and phone calls seeking confirmation.” [Chronicle of Social Change, 4/7/2017]

Emails Obtained Through Public Records Requests Show Horn’s Involvement At HHS In Work Related To Family Planning

HHS Official Maggie Wynne Sent Wade Horn An Email In May 2017 Discussing Family Planning And Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANF). [FOIA Sent By Equity Forward To HHS 12/11/17, Responsive Records Received 3/29/19]

…And, In What Looks Like A Conflict Of Interest, Horn Appears To Have Retained His Role As Head Of Deloitte’s HHS Marketplace Practice

In The Years Immediately Before He Joined President Trump’s HHS, Horn Was Employed As Head Of Deloitte’s HHS Marketplace Practice; He Does Not Appear To Have Given Up That Role

During The Implementation Of Affordable Care Act, Deloitte Set Up Health Exchanges And Provided Other Obamacare-Related Services To At Least Eight States; Horn Led Those Projects. “The Obamacare rollout last fall was a well-documented disaster in many places, leading states and the federal government to drop their contractors or withhold payment for their work. But in a noticeable pattern, state-run health exchanges managed by Deloitte Consulting emerged relatively unscathed from the experience, and more are turning to the company for help. Four states — Connecticut, Kentucky, Rhode Island and Washington State — relied on the company and enjoyed a relatively smooth rollout, while Maryland, Nevada, Minnesota and Oregon have enlisted Deloitte’s services for an array of tasks…Two of Deloitte’s top health-reform officials — Pat Howard and Wade Horn — discussed their keys to success in a wide-ranging interview with The Washington Times. The Deloitte executives said the company built on a decades-long track record of building self-service portals, particularly in field of Medicaid eligibility, allowed them walk into states with a game plan instead of a blank notebook. “We weren’t just taking guesses about what might be helpful and what might work or might not work,” said Mr. Horn, a director in Deloitte Consulting’s public sector practice.” [Washington Times, 5/19/2014]

According To His Linkedin Profile, Horn Currently Serves As Deloitte’s “Human Services Segment Leader, State & Local Government Practice”…


[Linkedin, accessed 10/31/2018]

…And Deloitte’s Website Currently Lists Horn As Its “Health and Human Services Marketplace Leader.” “Wade is a director with Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Public Sector practice. In this role, he is responsible for leading the Health and Human Services (HHS) Marketplace and is a key adviser to HHS clients.”

[, accessed 10/31/2018]

Horn’s Dual Roles At Deloitte And HHS Constitute A Conflict Of Interest

After Horn Began Working For The Trump Administration, Deloitte Received A $1 Million Contract To “Reimagine HHS.” “At HHS, Price tapped Bardis to help oversee Reimagine HHS, an initiative launched by Price and designed to revamp the agency’s staffing and structure and to make it more cost-efficient. The project was seen as a top priority, and the agency rushed to craft the plan across the summer; HHS hired Deloitte for a $1 million, two-month contract to support the initiative.” [Politico, 11/13/2017]

  • Deloitte Also Received A $6.4 Million Contract To Provide Services For Medicare And Medicaid. “Deloitte Consulting LLP, Arlington, Virginia, won a $6,638,320 federal contract from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for enrollment workstation, issuance workstation, registrar support, fingerprinting, electronic questionnaires for investigations processing, front-end personal identity verification credentialing and adjudication support services.” [Targeted News Service, 9/24/2018]

With Horn At HHS, Deloitte Employees “Have Been A Constant Presence” At The Agency; The Arrangement Has Created “Out Of Control” Conflicts Of Interest.” “In effect, [Horn’s] job is advising a federal agency that also has the authority to grant contracts to his firm…According to people who work [at HHS], members of [Deloitte] have been a constant presence at the agency, running ‘innovation’ workshops since at least May. Deloitte’s lobbying arm has spent more than a million dollars this year lobbying the federal government, including at HHS. A Deloitte spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment. The coziness between Deloitte and HHS strikes some good-government watchdogs as problematic. ‘Relying on outside corporate consulting firms to ‘reimagine’ the government is basically inviting the corporate class inside the government to better serve their interests,’ says Robert Weissman, president of the advocacy group Public Citizen. ‘The conflicts are out of control.’” [Mother Jones, 8/29/2017]

See More