Planned Parenthood just can’t seem to catch a break.
There was the news this week that, thanks to a SCOTUS ruling, crisis pregnancy centers in California won’t have to refer patients out for abortions. Then, pro-abortion Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, potentially signaling an end to the era of unrestricted abortion access.
And, it turns out that Planned Parenthood is now also in the midst of suing the Trump Administration.
Why? So they can continue promoting sex, birth control, and abortion to teenagers.
This past April, President Trump announced that funding for the government-sponsored Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs (or TPPP) would not only end two years earlier than scheduled, but will also now be tied to approaches that exclusively promote abstinence. (The administration was subsequently ordered by the courts to continue the funding, but is challenging that ruling in an appeal.)
This is a clear and intentional departure from the original grant program, as implemented by President Obama.
Under the previous administration, recipients of the $213.6 million in available grant money were required, among other things, to provide teens with all FDA-approved forms of birth control. In contrast, President Trump is focusing on such strategies as “sexual risk avoidance” and “parental monitoring”, which has “been shown to protect against early sexual debut and other risky sexual behaviors”.
Also? Birth control is out. Natural Family Planning is in.
Comparing the risks associated with teen sex to “drug use” and “failing to wear a seatbelt”, President Trump is also emphasizing funding opportunities for both organizations that are faith-based, and organizations that encourage “activities for adolescents that do not normalize sexual risk behaviors, but instead clearly communicate the research informed benefits of delaying sex or returning to a sexually risk-free status.”
The newly overhauled Title X program has also eliminated any reference to LGBTQ youth.
And unlike before, grantees must now commit to sex education programming that focuses on either “sexual risk avoidance”, or “sexual risk reduction.” Both are said to favor the promotion of abstinence until marriage.
While many parents of teens will see these changes as good news--even the CDC acknowledges teen sex as an inherently risky behavior--Planned Parenthood has taken to the courts to challenge the revisions. The abortion giant has filed suit against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Alex Azar (secretary of HHS), and Valerie Huber, the Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health. The lawsuits were filed in United States District Court in Spokane, Washington and New York City.
According to Planned Parenthood, President Trump’s set of sex education guidelines “stigmatizes teens who have had sex”, and “stacks the deck against young people by promoting abstinence-only programs rather than a wide range of programs that are proven to help young people stay healthy.”
But Senior Policy Advisor Valerie Huber, who also happens to be a mother to four, disagrees.
In a 2016 interview with Focus on the Family Magazine, Huber states:
“Sexual risk avoidance is actually a term taken from public health. I bristle at the terminology ‘abstinence only,’ because our programs are so holistic. They contextualize a whole battery of different topics that surround a young person’s decision whether to have sex or not. Rather than someone telling a young person, ‘Do this, don’t do that,’ it’s casting a vision for a young person’s future.”
Could that be the real reason--the potential for teens to live a life free from the risks of premarital sex and abortion--that Planned Parenthood, incidentally the nation’s largest abortion provider, is suing the Trump Administration?
Current and hopeful TPPP grant recipients had until today to apply, reapply, and/or bring their sex education curriculums into compliance with the new guidelines. 1.2 million young people are said to be affected by the government’s TPP grant program.