President Donald Trump appears likely to win a court battle against the abortion giant Planned Parenthood.
At issue are new guidelines for Title X grants, which fund family planning programs across the country. In February, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services introduced a new grant application that prioritizes sexual risk avoidance strategies, including abstinence, and the introduction of various natural family planning methods in addition to artificial contraception. The Planned Parenthood abortion chain receives about $50 million to $60 million in taxpayer-funded Title X grants annually.
Planned Parenthood sued to block the changes, but a judge ruled against it in July. Other groups involved in the lawsuit include the National Planning and Reproductive Health Association and the American Civil Liberties Union.
On Wednesday, the abortion chain argued its appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. However, the court was “unreceptive,” according to Courthouse News.
Planned Parenthood did receive a grant this year, because the Trump administration’s changes have not yet taken full effect due to the lawsuit, but it fears it could lose future money because of another proposed change that would prohibit abortion facilities from receiving Title X dollars, the Washington Post reports. That proposal, introduced in May, has not yet been implemented fully.
Here’s more from Courthouse News:
Wednesday’s arguments at the D.C. Circuit did not focus much on the validity of the department’s changes, but rather on whether groups could even bring their challenge to court.
Justice Department attorney Jaynie Lilley said unless the groups plan to challenge the grants themselves, which they have said they will not do, the case is moot.
But WilmerHale attorney Paul Wolfson, who argued for the groups on Wednesday, said his clients do not want to take any action that would hold up government money going toward needed services. Instead, the groups are bringing the challenge for fear that the government will use the new criteria when evaluating future grant proposals. In addition, Wolfson said, some of the grant winners changed their proposals to better fit the new requirements, even though they would have preferred not to.
The judges seemed skeptical of Wolfson’s argument, according to the report. It is not clear when they will announce a decision on the case.
In February, Valerie Huber, acting deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Population Affairs at HHS, said their goal is to fund Title X programs that effectively teach sexual risk avoidance.
“This is a program that’s important to the administration and we think its really important to make some meaningful changes to extend the coverage of the program,” Huber said at the time.
There is little evidence that Planned Parenthood’s programs have reduced sexual health risks and teen pregnancies.
In 2017, the Trump administration also cut millions of dollars in grants to Planned Parenthood through the failed Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program. HHS spokesman Mark Vafiades told the New York Times last year that there is very little evidence that the program was successful.
However, Planned Parenthood also is suing over those cuts.
Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion business in America, aborting approximately 320,000 unborn babies every year. Its most recent annual report showed a record income of $1.46 billion, with about half a billion dollars coming from taxpayers.
Its sex education programs repeatedly have been questioned and rejected by concerned parents and school administrators across the country.