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Courts criticize cuts to HHS' teen pregnancy program

The US Department of Health and Human Services building
Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

HHS has now lost four lawsuits over its controversial decision to end a teen pregnancy program. A judge in Seattle ruled yesterday that HHS had not followed its own rules and procedures when it eliminated the program.

The intrigue: Congress created the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program in 2010, and provided more than $100 million for HHS to give out in grants. Seattle was among the cities that received a new round of funding in 2015, but, in 2017, the new administration abruptly put an end to the program.

  • “HHS’s failure to articulate any explanation for its action, much less a reasoned one based on relevant factors, exemplifies arbitrary and capricious agency action,” the court said.
  • NBC News, citing internal HHS notes and emails, has reported that “three appointees with strict pro-abstinence beliefs … guided the process to end a program many medical professionals credit with helping to bring the nation’s teen pregnancy rate to an all-time low.”

What’s next: The Seattle judge told HHS to reconsider the grant request, and make any relevant funding available by August.