A fourth federal judge has ruled against the Trump administration’s decision to prematurely end grants aimed at cutting teen pregnancy rates.
Judge John Coughenour in Washington state ruled Tuesday afternoon that the administration unlawfully ended grants two years early for the King County Health Department in Seattle, which participated in the Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) Program.
“This ruling is such a relief, as we are so close to the finish line for completing this study and building an evidence base for sex education nationwide,” said Patty Hayes, director of public health for Seattle and King County.
The ruling is significant as a class-action lawsuit filed by the remaining 72 grantees plays out in court.
Federal judges have now ruled in four different cases involving nine TPP grantees that the administration’s actions were unlawful.
The rulings mean the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will have to process applications for the final two years of funding.
The HHS last year sent notices to grantees informing them that their grants would end two years earlier than originally planned, arguing that the program was ineffective.
Trump appointees at HHS are pushing to give the TPP program a greater emphasis on abstinence education.
Under former President Obama, the program mostly funded comprehensive, evidence-based sex education, which includes teachings about contraception and abstinence.
BY JESSIE HELLMANN – 05/29/18