Planned Parenthood gets a legal victory after attempted cuts to teen pregnancy program

Eric Thayer/The New York Times


Last week, a federal court in Spokane granted a permanent injunction to prevent the Trump administration from cutting grants to Planned Parenthood's TEEN PREGNANCY PREVENTION PROGRAM in Western states.

The decision was a blow to the administration's effort to push abstinence-only sex education.

"The courts confirmed it: The Trump-Pence administration's efforts to impose their ideological agenda on young people is unlawful," says Dawn Laguens, Planned Parenthood Federation of America's executive vice president.

In February, Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho sued Alex Azar, secretary of U.S. Health and Human Services, for terminating a grant for the organization's Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program. The suit was joined by Planned Parenthood affiliates in several other states. They argued that HHS acted unlawfully when it cancelled their five-year grants with no explanation.

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Rice agreed, writing that HHS "arbitrarily and capriciously terminated the TPP program."

The TPP program mostly funds organizations that work to prevent teen pregnancy if they have been shown to be effective. Otherwise, the program tries new strategies to combat teen pregnancy. The organizations are required to measure the effectiveness of the programs in reducing pregnancy.

The Trump administration last month issued new rules for funding programs to prevent teenage pregnancy. Those rules favor programs promoting abstinence and programs that may not be proven to work in reducing teen pregnancy. Studies have shown that abstinence programs fail to change teenage sexual behavior.

Rachel Todd, director of education for Planned Parenthood's local affiliate, says in a statement that the court's decision last week sent a "clear message" that the "Trump-Pence administration can't turn back progress, ignore science and the needs of young people."

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About The Author

Wilson Criscione

Wilson Criscione is the Inlander’s news editor. Aside from writing and editing investigative news stories, he enjoys hiking, watching basketball and spending time with his wife and cat.