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Class-action lawsuit targets Trump cuts to teen pregnancy prevention

Class-action lawsuit targets Trump cuts to teen pregnancy prevention
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A class-action lawsuit filed Friday morning argues the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) illegally ended grants to 81 organizations participating in a federal teen pregnancy prevention program. 

HHS last summer sent notices to groups participating in the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program informing them their grants would end two years earlier than originally planned, arguing that there efforts to cut teen pregnancy rates were ineffective. 

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Federal judges have since ruled against the Trump administration in three separate cases representing eight grantees. 

Friday's lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by Healthy Futures of Texas on behalf of all grantees and is being represented by the Public Citizen Litigation Group. 

Public Citizen hopes the outcome of those cases will work in its favor as it seeks to block the terminations for the remaining grantees. 

“HHS has conceded that it made a program-wide decision to terminate these grants, and courts have unanimously concluded that the agency’s decision was unlawful,” said Sean Sherman, the lead Public Citizen Litigation Group attorney representing the plaintiff.

“Because HHS is not willing to reinstate the remaining grants based on the unanimous view of three federal courts, we are seeking an order requiring it to do so.” 

The program has been criticized by some Republicans and conservative groups for its heavy focus on comprehensive sex education, which can include lessons on both contraception and abstinence. 

The cuts were led by Valerie Huber, an HHS official and Trump appointee who led a national abstinence-only education advocacy group before joining the administration last year. 

A federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled Wednesday in favor of Baltimore City Health Department in its case against the administration, and another federal judge ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood Tuesday. 

Another federal judge in D.C. ruled against the administration last week in a separate case involving four grantees.