A federal judge has sided with the Trump administration in a lawsuit challenging its move to prioritize faith-based, abstinence-focused programs for dispensing family-planning dollars.
In May, three Planned Parenthood groups and the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA) sued the administration over the Department of Health & Human Services’ (HHS) February guidelines overhauling how it evaluated applications for Title X family planning grants.
The new rules gave priority to abstinence, ease of primary care access, more family participation, and cooperation with faith-based groups.
On Monday, District Court Judge for the District of Columbia Trevor McFadden, a Trump appointee, issued his ruling in the case, Reuters reports.
“[C]ourts cannot review substantive objections to a non-final agency action, nor can they require formal rulemaking for a change in agency procedure,” he wrote. McFadden added that his ruling was not a decision on the merits of the case, but if it was he would conclude that the administration’s priorities were consistent with the Title X program’s mission of supporting “voluntary family projects … offering a broad range of acceptable and effective family planning methods and services.”
All told, the case is estimated to impact the fate of up to $260 million in federal tax dollars. Abortion giant Planned Parenthood handles more than 40 percent of patients receiving Title X care.
President Donald Trump and his administration have supported sexual risk avoidance education over contraceptive distribution throughout his presidency. Last year, Trump’s HHS recommended abandoning an Obama-era contraception-based teen pregnancy prevention program on the grounds that the results appeared to be an increased likelihood of teen pregnancy.
In January, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a study finding downward trends in teen sexual activity from 2005 to 2015. The study did not declare a direct link between the results and abstinence education funding, but pro-family advocates say that message is clear when the CDC findings are combined with other studies connecting condom distribution and the promotion of promiscuity to increased teen pregnancy.
Full story at LifeSiteNews.