Fifth Circuit to Hear Oral Arguments in Challenge to Title X Privacy Protections
Young people in Texas deserve confidential access to birth control.
November 6, 2023
Today the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in Deanda v. Becerra, a case that has blocked confidential access to contraception for young people at Title X clinics in Texas since a final judgment was issued in December 2022. The judgment improperly declared that longstanding statutory protections of confidential care in the Title X family planning program do not preempt state law requiring parental consent for contraception services. The federal government has appealed and requested that this judgment be reversed completely.
“If the plaintiff is successful, this judgment could devastate access to family planning and sexual health care for young people and lead to dangerous health consequences for millions,” said Stephanie LeBleu, Acting Director for Title X. “Most young people involve a parent or guardian in their healthcare decisions—in fact, Title X encourages them to do so. However, not all teens have a trusted adult with whom they can have those important conversations, and they turn to their family planning provider for confidential care.”
Decades of practice and settled legal precedent has protected confidential teen access to birth control in Title X clinics across the U.S. The district court’s ruling attempted to upend decades of practice and legal precedent that has protected young people in Texas and across the country. As a result of the district court judge’s ruling in Deanda, young people in Texas can no longer rely on their health centers to meet their contraceptive needs. And like other efforts to restrict sexual and reproductive healthcare access, Texas is the testing ground: this case could offer a blueprint to other states that wish to restrict teen access to birth control.
“A familiar strategy for undermining access to care is playing out with Deanda v. Becerra,” said LeBleu. “Although this case specifically threatens birth control access for young people at Title X clinics in Texas, we know efforts to restrict access to contraceptive care will not stop here. Powerful political actors have already signaled their support for a nationwide ban on birth control. We are witnessing similar tactics for gutting access to abortion and gender-affirming care piece by piece used across the US. We know that the harmful outcomes that result from lack of healthcare access that impact lives and communities for generations are precisely what those who seek to restrict care wish to see come to fruition.”
Every Body Texas has served as the statewide administrator of Title X since 2013 and funds a network of more than 30 agencies with over 150 clinic sites across the state. Nearly 200,000 Texas residents access critical preventive healthcare services like birth control, STI testing and treatment, and testing for breast and cervical cancer from a clinic funded by Every Body Texas each year.
Birth control access is critical to promoting reproductive justice and equity, particularly for young people striving to make the best decisions for their futures. The ability to decide if, when, and how to become a parent and otherwise safely make decisions about your own body is a right that must be afforded to all people. At Every Body Texas, we continue to fight for a world where all people can access safe, high-quality, unbiased sexual and reproductive healthcare.
For additional information requests related to the legal aspects of the Deanda v. Becerra case, please contact our legal counsel Elizabeth Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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