Trump Administration Drops Its Appeal of Federal Court Ruling That Declared Its Actions Unlawful
Multnomah County, Democracy Forward Win Fight to Protect Evidence-Based TPP Program
Washington D.C.— Yesterday, the Trump administration conceded defeat by dropping its appeal of an Oregon federal court’s ruling that it unlawfully diverted funding for evidence-based Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) Program grants toward unproven, abstinence-only programs. In a case brought by Democracy Forward and Pacifica Law Group on behalf of Multnomah County, Oregon, a federal court ruled in August 2018 that the Department of Health and Human Services flouted congressional mandates by issuing unlawful new criteria for prospective grantees.
Democracy Forward has brought multiple cases against the Trump administration to protect the TPP Program, which serves more than one million teens across America. In each case litigated by Democracy Forward, the administration has been defeated and agreed to drop all appeals.
“This is another victory for the health of America’s teens and for evidence-based public policy,” said Jeff Dubner, Democracy Forward Senior Counsel. “We remain concerned that the administration will keep trying to divert funds to abstinence-only programs, but these rulings are a flashing sign saying stop trying to skirt the law.”
“This is great news. We don’t have to waste any more time fighting in court, and can get on with the important work we have to do,” said Kim Toevs, Director of Youth Sexual Health Equity at Multnomah County. “We understood that nationally it was really important to hold the line. If Congress appropriates money for science-based approaches to public health problems, the administration can’t just override that with their own moral slant.”
Despite the court rulings and the government’s decision not to appeal, concerns remain that the administration is continuing to surreptitiously and unlawfully expend TPP Program funds. In a December 2018 letter to HHS Secretary Azar, members of Congress expressed concern that the administration may be bypassing court orders by using a third-party government contractor to direct federal funds toward abstinence-only programs. In January 2019, Democracy Forward took the administration to court for stonewalling in releasing records that could show whether HHS unlawfully expended TPP Program funds yet again.
Democracy Forward is a nonprofit legal organization that scrutinizes Executive Branch activity across policy areas, represents clients in litigation to challenge unlawful actions, and educates the public when the White House or federal agencies break the law.