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February 15, 2018

Advocacy groups file lawsuits against the administration to ensure teens have comprehensive education and health care

SPOKANE — Today, Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho (PPGWNI), joined by Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands and Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, filed a federal lawsuit in Spokane, Wash., against the Trump-Pence administration for wrongfully ending the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP) grants abruptly and arbitrarily. The evidence-based program will end two years early and eliminate program evaluations that have been underway for two years.

Created in 2010, the TPPP has helped millions of young people make informed decisions about their bodies and lives through a series of programs and health service-related resources. TPPP is a community informed program based in evidence that builds on what we know works to help young people stay safe and make healthy decisions about their future, while also partnering with communities to ensure we are including input about local needs and delivering programs that meet those needs. These evidence-based models have already contributed to the dramatic decline in unintended pregnancies nationally and underscore the need for continued local programming.

“When youth have access to medically-accurate, inclusive, and evidence-based sexual health education, they make healthy decisions about their lives,” Rachel Todd, director of education said. “The city of Spokane has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the state, putting youth at greater risk of poverty and too many are getting shame-based, outdated education that focuses on abstinence until marriage. We can do better.”

Despite the mounting evidence that TPPP contributes to declines in teen birth rates, the Trump-Pence administration is attempting to illegally dismantle the program. The abrupt and arbitrary end to TPPP grants disproportionately affects communities with high rates of unintended teen pregnancy, youth of color, rural families in rural communities, and youth who already face significant barriers when trying to access information or health care.

The Planned Parenthood plaintiff affiliates conduct programs in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, Utah, and Washington state. These programs have empowered countless youth and families with the facts they need to control their lives.

The administration’s action to illegally end the TPP programs is a part of a systematic effort by the Trump-Pence HHS to erode the agency’s mission of upholding science- and evidence-based policies. HHS has banned the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from using specific words and phrases, such as “vulnerable,” “evidence-based,” “science-based” and “diversity” in agency communications; has attacked evidence-based programs like TPPP and Title X; and rolled out a FY19 budget that shows a clear agenda to block women’s access to birth control and other preventive care, dismantle programs like Medicaid, and impose their extreme ideological beliefs on all people.

“We're the nation’s largest and most trusted provider of sex education,” said Todd. “Sex education that's evidence-based and delivered by trained professionals is extremely effective and widely supported in our community. As we navigate this latest challenge, we are grateful to our partners for standing with us and we will persevere despite the continued obstacles the current administration puts in our path.”

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Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho (PPGWNI) is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization and the leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable reproductive health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the primary provider of sexual health education in the region. With 11 health centers throughout Central and Eastern Washington, PPGWNI serves over 28,000 patients with exceptional health care, honest education, and fearless advocacy since 1967.