Texas federal judge rules against HHS program that allows teens confidential birth control

A federal court ruling on Tuesday could make it nearly impossible for Texas teens to access birth control without parental permission.

US District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk ruled that Title X, the federal program that provides free and confidential birth control to anyone regardless of age, income or immigration status, violates the rights of parents and violates state and federal laws.

Kacsmaryk’s ruling likely means that teens receiving care through the Title X Family Planning Program you will no longer be allowed to do so confidentially.

Birth control pills rest on a counter in Centreville, Maryland on July 6, 2022.

Birth control pills rest on a counter in Centreville, Maryland on July 6, 2022.
(JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

“This ruling threatens the health and lives of young people, who may be robbed of their ability to access the health care they need to lead healthy lives,” Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. .

Kacsmaryk did not grant an injunction, which would have immediately barred Title X clinics from providing birth control to minors without parental consent.

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Kacsmaryk was appointed by former President Donald Trump in 2019 and is a longtime advocate of religious liberty. Previously, he has worked on litigation to void contraceptive protection.

The case was argued by Jonathan Mitchell, the former Texas attorney general who authored the state’s controversial abortion law that banned the procedure after about six weeks.

Mitchell also sued successfully to challenge the Obamacare rule that requires insurers and employers to cover HIV prevention drugs.

An illustrative image shows a woman holding a birth control pill at her home in Texas.

An illustrative image shows a woman holding a birth control pill at her home in Texas.
(Copyright Reuters 2016)

Mitchell represented a father, Alex Deanda, who said he was “raising each of his daughters in accordance with Christian teaching on sexuality, which requires unmarried boys to practice abstinence and refrain from sexual intercourse until the end of the day.” marriage”.

In the complaint, Deanda argued that the Title X program interferes with the ability of parents to raise their children according to with their own religious values.

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Deanda said that he “wants to be informed if any of his children are accessing or attempting to access prescription contraceptives and other family planning services. And he does not want his children to obtain or use these drugs or services unless he consents.”

Kacsmaryk agreed, ruling Tuesday that Title X violates Defendant’s rights under the Texas Family Code and the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment, denying her the “fundamental right to control and direct the upbringing of her minor children.” “.

A box of Plan B One-Step emergency contraception in New York.

A box of Plan B One-Step emergency contraception in New York.
(REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

Title X is the only federal program that gives money to family planning service providers who serve low-income people.

Time federal regulations say that Title X clinics must “encourage family involvement…to the extent possible,” they are not permitted to require parental consent or notify parents that a minor has applied for or received services.”

Clare Coleman, president and CEO of the National Association for Family Planning and Reproductive Health, said in a statement that Kacsmaryk’s ruling ignores “decades of legal precedent.”

“In a family planning setting, it is critical that adolescents have access to high-quality, confidential care from a provider who supports and respects their values,” Coleman said. “Title X funded providers are considered highly reliable sources of healthcare information for your patientsand not being able to access confidential care will block a critical pathway to essential health services for young people.”

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Texas has 176 Title X clinics across the state and served more than 180,000 clients in fiscal year 2020. The vast majority of Title X clients in Texas are below the poverty line and do not have health insurance. About 5% were under 18 years of age..

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