Texas Federal Judge Rules Against Title X Allowing Teens To Get Birth Control Without Telling Parents

A judge in Texas ruled Tuesday against a program that allowed teenagers to get birth control without telling their parents. 

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk issued a ruling stating that the Title X program violates the rights of parents, as well as state code. Kacsmaryk used to work as a religious liberty lawyer who assisted in litigating cases looking to get rid of contraception protections, the Texas Tribune reported.

Jonathan Mitchell, the former Texas solicitor general, brought the case forward on behalf of Alexander Deanda. Deanda has three children and is “raising each of his daughters in accordance with Christian teaching on matters of sexuality, which requires unmarried children to practice abstinence and refrain from sexual intercourse until marriage,” the complaint reportedly noted.

Deanda claimed that the clause regarding confidentiality in Title X goes against the power of parents and the Texas Family Code. 

Deanda noted that he “wishes to be informed if any of his children are accessing or attempting to access prescription contraception and other family-planning services. And he does not want his children to obtain or use these drugs or services unless he consents.”

Kacsmaryk ruled that Title X goes against the father’s rights per the code, as well as the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment, and it doesn’t allow him to have the “fundamental right to control and direct the upbringing of his minor children.” He also noted that the government didn’t have a compelling reason to violate the father’s rights.

Kacsmaryk’s ruling sets apart the confidentiality section of the Title X law. The judge did not put forward an injunction banning clinics from giving out birth control to minors without the consent of parents. An appeal is anticipated and the Title X administrator in the state reportedly said it is waiting to get more information from the Department of Health and Human Services about how to move forward. The effects of the ruling remain to be seen. 

On December 8, Kacsmaryk granted the motion of the plaintiff and rendered summary judgment. In a conclusion of that order, the judge noted that “[d]efendants’ administration of the Title X program violates the constitutional right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children and Texas Family Code.”

Organizations such as Planned Parenthood and the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association both spoke out against the decision. 

“Despite the fact that the right to contraceptive access is protected by the U.S. Constitution for all, including adolescents, this ruling seeks to lay the foundation to undo that right,” Clare Coleman, president and CEO of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, said in a statement.

“Title X-funded providers are considered highly trusted sources of health care information for their patients, and not being able to access confidential care will block a critical pathway to essential health services for young people,” she stated. 

“Opponents of reproductive rights are not satisfied with overturning Roe–they want to take away birth control from young people, and restrict access to essential sexual and reproductive health care wherever they can,” Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood, said.

According to the Office of Population Affairs under the Department of Health and Human Services, “Title X recipients provide a broad range of medically approved Family planning services.” This involves natural family planning procedures, as well as contraception approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The services include “[p]regnancy prevention and birth spacing,” “[p]regnancy testing and counseling,” “[o]ther preconception health services,” and more. 

It added that the services of Title X are “voluntary, confidential, and provided regardless” of whether or not someone can pay for them. 

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