May 30, 2018

Courts criticize cuts to HHS' teen pregnancy program

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.

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 741,030 — Total deaths: 35,305 — Total recoveries: 156,838.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 143,532 — Total deaths: 2,572 — Total recoveries: 4,865.
  3. Federal government latest: The White House will extend its social distancing guidelines until April 30 — Hospital ship the USNS Comfort arrives in Manhattan
  4. Public health updates: — White House COVID-19 response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said the 100,000 to 200,000 U.S. coronavirus death toll estimate is based on the presumption that citizens follow social-distancing guidelines "almost perfectly."
  5. Business latest: Macy's will furlough the majority of it's workers this week, as the chain's stores remain closed.
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Macy's to furlough 130,000 employees

Macy's flagship store in New York on March 24, 2020. Photo: John Lamparski/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Macy's will furlough the majority of it's workers this week, as the chain's stores remain closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Details: Macy's sales have seen a drastic decline, having shuttered its stores on March 18. The company employs about 130,000 people, per the Journal. It will retain workers for its e-commerce operations, distribution and call centers. The chain told staff it will continue to cover 100% of its employees health care premiums at least through May.

Go deeper: The coronavirus pandemic is hitting Main Street