President Donald Trump just can’t catch a break from the judicial branch of our government, as those pesky federal judges continue to insist on upholding the Constitution.
First, the courts struck down his executive order banning Muslims from up to six countries from entering the United States. Later, they nixed his efforts to withhold federal funding from city and state governments that maintained so-called ‘sanctuary’ policies regarding undocumented immigrants.
Now the courts have nullified his clumsy attempt to gut the popular Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP) that conservative and pro-life groups find offensive for some incomprehensible reason.
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Trump abruptly canceled $213 million in TPPP grants for 81 organizations last July, just two years into their five-year funding cycle. That draconian move compelled many of those groups to sue the administration, and on Thursday, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson ordered the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to resume accepting and processing applications for the program’s grants as if Trump had never tried to undermine them.
“The court’s decision today is a rebuke of the Trump administration’s effort to kill a program that is working effectively to lower teen pregnancy rates,” Sean Sherman, an attorney at the Public Citizen Litigation Group, one of the parties that sued the government, said after the ruling.
“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.”
The Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program is a national, evidence-based program established under President Obama to fund diverse organizations working to prevent teen pregnancy across the United States, according to the program’s website.
The Department of Health and Human Services administers the program and oversees the many groups funded under it. Together, those groups reach adolescents age 10-19, mostly in populations with the greatest need in order to reduce disparities in teen pregnancy and birth rates in society.
Conservatives, naturally, hate the program because it directs its funding to groups that promote comprehensive sexual education, including contraception and birth control. They think abstinence-only education is all the birth control kids need, and anything more than that turns teens into nymphomaniacs – and with all the money we pour into our military, we really can’t afford to take care of the next generation!
The court’s ruling today doesn’t shoot down the obvious fallacy of abstinence-only, unfortunately, but it does neuter the president’s ability to enforce it by fiat. As long as dilettante right wing ideologues like Stephen Miller keeps writing his executive orders, expect more of Trump’s whims to be dismantled by the totally uncooperative judicial branch.