HHS Unlawfully Axed Grants for Teen Pregnancy Programs, Judge Rules

(CN) – A federal judge Thursday ruled that the Trump administration unlawfully terminated grants awarded for teen pregnancy prevention programs.

U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson announced her ruling from the bench Thursday morning, a day after attorneys for the government and the Public Citizen Litigation Group, which represented the plaintiff grant recipients, presented two hours of oral arguments.

Public Citizen sued the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service in February after the department terminated grants awarded to four recipients under the federal Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program.

The plaintiff organizations were Policy and Research, LLC; Project Vida Health Center; Sexual Health Initiatives for Teens North Carolina; and the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.

Judge Jackson’s order granted summary judgment to the plaintiffs and vacated the department’s decision to shorten the grant period.

She further ordered Health and Human Service’s officials to “accept and process Plaintiffs’ applications as if it had not terminated the Plaintiffs’ federal awards.”

She then stayed her order until April 26, at which time she said it will become final and appealable.

Representatives of the department could not immediately be reached for comment.

But Sean Sherman, attorney for the plaintiffs, said Thursday’s decision is “a rebuke of the Trump administration’s effort to kill a program that is working effectively to lower teen pregnancy rates.”

“Because of the court’s ruling, the four grantees will be able to continue to serve their local communities and to conduct important research,” Sherman continued. “The court’s decision confirms that HHS must administer the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program in accordance with the agency’s own regulations and the requirement of reasoned decision-making.”

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