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Ruling Prevents Trump-Pence Administration from Terminating Grants Prematurely

“The courts confirmed that the Trump-Pence administration’s attempt to impose its ideological agenda on young people is unlawful.”

Washington DC — Today a federal Court in Spokane, WA ruled in favor of the health and well-being of American teens, parents, and families — stating that the Trump-Pence administration’s early termination of Planned Parenthood’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP) grants is unlawful. Together with coalition members, Planned Parenthood sued the Trump-Pence administration in February over its decision to terminate all grantees’ awards two years early. The TPPP was on track to serve more than 1.2 million people across the country. Last week, in another case challenging the administration’s cuts to the program, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the Trump-Pence administration’s attempts to end the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program were unlawful and that the administration must process plaintiffs’ awards for the next year.

 The Court ruled that the “[Department of Health and Human Services] arbitrarily and capriciously terminated the TPP Program.” It also noted that “the public interest weighs in favor of Plaintiffs, as [the order] would prevent harm to the community... and prevent loss of data regarding the effectiveness of teen pregnancy prevention.”

In June 2017, the Trump Pence administration faced outrage when it decided to terminate the program two years early. Senators Patty Murray, Tammy Baldwin and Cory Booker led a letter, signed by 37 Senators, to Health and Human Services (HHS) expressing their concern and telling HHS it did not have the authority to terminate the grants early. And 149 members of the House of Representatives, signed a letter, led by Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA-13), Lloyd Doggett (D-CA-35), Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM-1), Ted Deutch (D-FL-22), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA-7), and Marc Veasey (D-TX-33), expressing their concern over the administration’s action. 

Tonight’s ruling follows last week’s Trump-Pence administration announcement that it would radically remake the science-based TPPP to push ineffective abstinence-only-until-marriage sex education programming.

Statement from Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

The courts confirmed that the Trump-Pence administration’s attempt to impose its ideological agenda on young people is unlawful. As the nation's leading provider of sex education, Planned Parenthood has seen firsthand how sex education empowers young people to take control of their health and create their own futures. All young people, regardless of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, income or zip code, deserve the space to get answers to their questions about sex and gain skills to build healthy relationships. Planned Parenthood applauds the court's decision and is proud to continue to serve Americans in the TPPP,  along with our partners.

Quote from Rachel Todd, Director Of Education for Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho:

Today's decision sent a clear message: The Trump-Pence administration can’t turn back progress, ignore science and the needs of young people, to push its ideological agenda. Shifting funds from a wide range of evidence-based programs to focus exclusively on programs that emphasize abstinence-only programs will disproportionately harm young people —including survivors of sexual violence, LGBTQ teens, youth of color, families in rural communities, and youth who already face significant barriers to accessing information or health care. Sex education that’s evidence-based and delivered by trained professionals, like our experts, is extremely effective and widely supported in our country.

Since 2010, the TPPP has provided young people with education about sexual health, communication skills, and relationships so they have the tools to make healthy, informed decisions. The TPPP funds programs that are based on scientific evidence, and have been proven effective in helping to reduce unintended teen pregnancy. The sex education programs funded by TPPP take an innovative approach, offering a broad range of programs that allow each community to choose what best suits its youth population. TPPP-funded programs also reach young people and their families of diverse  backgrounds — from rural West Virginia to Indigenous tribes in Minnesota — supporting programs that ensure everyone has access to sex education regardless of race, zip code, income, and gender identity.

Lawyers from the law firm Arnold & Porter, alongside Planned Parenthood Federation of America and local counsel Center for Justice, represented Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands (PPGNHI), Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho (PPGWNI), and Planned Parenthood of the Heartland (PPHeartland). Lawyers from Democracy Forward and Public Citizen representing other TPPP grantees filed suit in two other separate cases.

Sex education is widely supported in the United States. In fact, over 90% of parents support sex education in both middle and high school. And the vast majority of parents, including Democrats and Republicans, want sex education to include topics like birth control, healthy relationships, abstinence, and sexual orientation.

As the nation’s largest provider of sex education, Planned Parenthood works in schools and communities across the country to provide quality programs. Planned Parenthood is proud to provide sex education and health services that help teens plan their future and prevent unintended pregnancies and STDs. We work every day to reach teens with education about sexual health, communication skills, and relationships so they can make healthy decisions.

 

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Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.