Decision Will Keep the Administration from Prematurely Ending the Evidence-Based Grant Program Benefiting Teens, Parents, and Families
A federal court in Spokane, Wash., ruled this week 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. 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 administration’s attempts to end the TPPP 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.”
“The courts confirmed what we knew all along,” said Carole Miller, chief learning officer at Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. “By eliminating funding for evidence-based programming and redirecting funds to abstinence-only programs, we are only hurting ourselves. This decision will impact our youth and their families who rely on these programs for comprehensive, medically accurate sex ed, often in places where there are no other resources, and sends a clear message that the radical ideologies this administration holds are wrong.”
In February, PPGNHI joined by Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho (PPGWNI) and Planned Parenthood of the Heartland (PPHeartland), filed its first lawsuit against the administration for wrongfully ending the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP). The evidence-based program was set to end two years early and would have eliminated program evaluations that have been underway for two years.
Created in 2010, the TPP program 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 is proven to help young people stay safe and make healthy decisions about their future, while also partnering with communities to ensure local input is included, so the programs can meet those needs. These evidence-based models have already contributed to a dramatic decline in the unintended pregnancy rate.
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.
Lawyers from the law firm Arnold & Porter, alongside Planned Parenthood Federation of America and local counsel Center for Justice, represented PPGNHI, PPGWNI, and PPHeartland. Lawyers from Democracy Forward and Public Citizen representing other TPPP grantees filed suit in two other separate cases.