Planned Parenthood sued the Trump administration Wednesday in an effort to block conservative changes to Title X, a family planning grant program.
The Trump administration is violating the purpose of Title X, Planned Parenthood argues, by promoting a campaign for abstinence until marriage rather than the contraception focus that Planned Parenthood says is the intent of the program.
Dr. Gillian Dean, senior director of medical services at Planned Parenthood, told The Hill that the administration is "trying to push people toward abstinence or pressure women into marriage—instead of helping them get quality health care."
Indeed, in its guidelines for health organizations applying for Title X funding, the Department of Health and Human Services stresses the importance of "natural family planning methods," which include abstinence education and fertility-based contraception.
Ironically, studies show that "the more strongly abstinence is emphasized in state laws and policies, the higher the average teenage pregnancy and birth rate." Moreover, abstinence education has actually been linked to increased rates of teen pregnancy. And the fertility model doesn't fare much better: Its risk of failure sits around 25 percent.
If the administration makes these changes to Title X, community health centers in 27 states will have to double the number of contraceptive patients they treat—and in nine states, they will have to at least triple their caseload.
These Title X funding changes would have serious consequences for lower-income Americans, many of whom rely more on subsidized services and often cannot pay out-of-pocket for contraception and the medical counseling it often requires.
The American Civil Liberties Union also filed a lawsuit opposing the changes, on behalf of the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, a reproductive health-care non-profit.