Texas teenagers may find it virtually hard to obtain birth contraception without their parents’ approval following a federal court decision on Tuesday.
U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk decided that Title X, a federal program that offers free, confidential contraception to everyone, regardless of age, poverty, or immigration status, violates parents’ rights as well as state and federal law.
Kacsmaryk, who was nominated by President Donald Trump in 2019 and is a former lawyer for religious liberty, assisted in lawsuits that aimed to eliminate safeguards for contraception. It is anticipated that an appeal will be filed against Tuesday’s decision.
Kacsmaryk refrained from granting an injunction, which would have forcibly stopped Title X clinics from giving contraceptives to teenagers without their parents’ permission. Every Body Texas, the Texas Title X administrator, stated in a statement that it is awaiting further instructions from the United States. guidelines from the Department of Health and Human Services. While they assess the decision, Shelley Kofler, a spokesperson for University Health’s Title X clinics in San Antonio, continued to provide birth control without parental consent.
Jonathan Mitchell, a former Texas attorney general who created the innovative rule that prohibited the majority of abortions in Texas after around six weeks of pregnancy, filed the lawsuit. Mitchell has also filed a lawsuit to stop the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that employers provide coverage for HIV preventive drugs.
Alexander Deanda, a father of three, is being represented by Mitchell. According to the complaint, Deanda 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 activity until marriage.”
Deanda contends that the confidentiality clause in Title X violates parental authority and the Texas Family Code, which grants parents the “right to consent to… medical and dental care” for their children. He does not want his daughters to be able to use contraception or family planning services without his permission.
In his opinion on Tuesday, Kacsmaryk concurred, holding that Title X infringes on Deanda’s rights under the Texas Family Code and the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause by depriving him of the “basic right to govern and manage the rearing of his minor children.”
In Texas, getting on birth control nearly usually requires parental consent. Texas has the highest recurrent adolescent pregnancy rate in the country, thus even girls who have already given birth cannot agree to using birth control. As part of its state-run Children’s Health Insurance Program, Texas is also one of just two states that does not provide any coverage for contraception.