Family Planning Clinics in Texas Require Parental Consent for Contraceptives After Court Order

In December, a North Texas federal judge ruled that the Title X program violated Texas law and parental rights.

TEXAS, USA — Texas teens will now need parental permission to get contraceptives from federally funded clinics following a court ruling late last month.

These Title X-funded clinics provide free, confidential contraceptives to anyone, regardless of age, income, or immigration status; prior to this ruling, Title X was one of the few ways that teenagers in Texas could get contraceptives without parental consent.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kachsmarik ruled in December that the program violated parental rights and state and federal laws. The US Department of Health and Human Services has asked the court to review the decision.

But at the same time, Title X’s administrator in Texas, Every Body Texas, advised its 156 clinics to require parental consent for minors “out of precaution” as it awaits further guidance from HHS.

“We hope, as we go along, we can reverse this guidance and continue to provide Texas minors with the sexual and reproductive assistance they need and deserve, with or without parental consent,” said Stephanie LeBleu, Acting Director of the Title X Project. in Every Body Texas.

Minors can still access testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy tests, emergency contraception, condoms and counseling without parental consent, LeBleu said.

Kaczmarik’s decision jeopardizes the entire Title X program, which was created during the Nixon administration to provide family planning services to low-income women. While Title X clinics must “encourage family involvement … to the extent practicable,” federal regulations prohibit them from requiring parental consent or notifying parents that a minor has received services.

Kachmarik, a religious freedom attorney before he was appointed to court in 2019, ruled that under Texas law, parents have the right to be notified that their children are receiving birth control. Its ruling “deems illegal” and “revokes” the privacy statement.

The case was brought by Jonathan Mitchell, the former Texas Attorney General who orchestrated the state’s ban on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. Mitchell introduces Alexander Deanda, father of three daughters.

According to the complaint, Deanda raises her daughters “in accordance with Christian teachings on sexuality, which require unmarried children to practice abstinence and abstain from sexual intercourse before marriage.”

According to the complaint, neither Deanda nor his daughters sought services at the Title X clinic. But Kaczmarik ruled that the program violated Deanda’s rights under the Texas Family Code and the due process clause of the 14th Amendment, depriving him of “the fundamental right to control and guide the upbringing of their minor children.”

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