by Micaiah Bilger
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The Trump administration is fighting back against lawsuits challenging its efforts to defund the abortion giant Planned Parenthood.
This week, attorneys for the government asked federal judges to dismiss two lawsuits the abortion chain filed against changes to Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) program grants, Reuters reports.
In June, Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit challenging a Department of Health and Human Services decision to prioritize sexual risk avoidance programs instead of the abortion giant’s risky sex education programs.
The Trump administration also cut millions of dollars in TPP program grants to the abortion chain in 2017 after evidence showed the program was not effective. However, the abortion chain is suing to stop those cuts as well in a separate lawsuit.
Lawyers for HHS argued this week that Planned Parenthood chose not to apply for the grants under the new changes so it does not have standing to sue, according to the report.
HHS lawyers countered that the new criteria for awarding grants under the program, which they changed in May, was “reasonable” and consistent with HHS’s past practices and congressional intent. Under the new criteria, recipients for grants must either follow a “sexual risk reduction model” or a “sexual risk avoidance model,” which aim to curb or completely stop sexual activity among teens respectively.
Planned Parenthood asserted that HHS’s new approach “stigmatizes” teens who have sex and that it prevents them from informed decision-making concerning intercourse, according to Reuters. HHS argued, however, it does not favor “sexual risk avoidance models” over “sexual risk reduction models,” and that halting grants to organizations that do follow a sexual risk avoidance model would not serve the public good, since such organizations can put those grants to “good use.”
Planned Parenthood did not comment on the development.
HHS spokesman Mark Vafiades previously told the New York Times there is very little evidence that the TPP programs were working under the Obama administration model.
Vafiades said the evidence of a positive impact is “very weak,” and the Trump administration wants to support science-based programs that provide “youth with the information and skills they need to avoid the many risks associated with teen sex.”
In 2017, the Office of Adolescent Health issued two reports evaluating the program. Of the 38 programs examined in the report, only one “reported a long-term reduction in overall rates of teen sexual activity. Nearly all of the evaluations found no long-term difference in sexual activity, use of contraception, or pregnancy rates between students enrolling in these programs and students in control groups,” Dr. Michael New, a professor at Ave Maria University, wrote in 2017.
HHS also pointed to research indicating that 73 percent of the TPP programs under the Obama administration either had a negative impact or none at all.
Many parents become very upset when they learn Planned Parenthood teaches their teenagers about sex. School districts in North Carolina and Michigan recently rejected Planned Parenthood sex education programs because of a strong public outcry.
Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the United States, aborting more than 320,000 unborn babies every year. The abortion chain also teaches sex education in public schools across the country, and promotes risky sexual behavior to vulnerable young teens at its clinics.
Planned Parenthood affiliates received several million dollars in taxpayer funds through the TPP grants. Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and Hawaiian Islands received $1 million annually to target rural teens. Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho, as well as Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, also received grants of nearly $1 million each annually to promote their risky sex agenda to teens.