Trump-Appointed Judge OKs Administration’s Attack on Family Planning Funding

By Jessica Mason Pieklo

A federal district court judge on Monday ruled the Trump administration could move forward with efforts to restructure the federal Title X family planning program by prioritizing abstinence programs.

United States District Court Judge Trevor McFadden, appointed by Trump in 2017, ruled the courts do not have the ability to review the proposed changes because they are not a “final agency action.”

“The substantive tweaks to the program priorities and key issues are neither new nor incompatible with Title X, instead they rephrase similar priorities and issues that appeared in prior funding announcements without objection or notice-and-comment rulemaking,” McFadden wrote.

The fight over Title X funding started as soon as the Trump administration took power. In 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it was terminating all multi-year grants under Title X. That meant even though competitive Title X grants had been awarded on overlapping three-year cycles, all Title X grantees would need to submit a new application for Title X funds in 2018.

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