Fifth Circuit Shoots Down Biden Admin — Federal Law DOES NOT Preempt Texas Law Requiring Parental Consent for Teen Contraceptives

America First Liberty announced a unanimous federal appeal court decision that President Joe Biden will hate.

Under Texas law, parents have the right to decide whether their teenagers can obtain birth control.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had other ideas.

Title X provides grants for clinics to distribute contraceptives and other “family planning” services. Subsequent amendments added “services for adolescents” and encouraged family participation. In 1981, HHS secretary promulgated regulations that would require facilities that receive grants to notify parents and to comply with state parental notification laws.

But this regulation never went into effect. According to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit’s ruling (PDF), “the Secretary’s ‘longstanding guidance’ to Title X grantees has been that they cannot require parental consent or even notify parents.”

The Biden administration cited this “longstanding guidance” to circumvent parental consent and notification requirements in Texas. Alexander Deanda and other parents filed a lawsuit against HHS.

Good news for parents in Texas. The Fifth Circuit shut down the administration.

“We hold that Title X does not preempt Texas’s law,” the court wrote. “A grantee can comply with both. Moreover, Title X’s goal (encouraging family
participation in teens’ receiving family planning services) is not undermined
by Texas’s goal (empowering parents to consent to their teen’s receiving
contraceptives). To the contrary, the two laws reinforce each other.”

The court said that if Title X preempted Texas’s law, it would nullify the plaintiff’s right to consent to his children’s medical care.

“That invasion of Deanda’s state-created right alone creates Article III injury.”

AFL said court’s decision is a “massive victory for parents across the State of Texas and a crushing defeat for ideologues who seek to prevent parents from learning about or consenting to medical care provided to their children.”

Gene Hamilton, AFL executive director, said that there are “forces at work in the government, the private sector, schools, and elsewhere that seek to keep parents in the dark, drive a wedge between parents and children–and ultimately destroy family relationships in hopes of replacing them with something else.”

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