A judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas ruled Tuesday that a program providing contraceptives to teenagers without prior parental consent violates the constitutional right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children.
The lawsuit was brought by a plaintiff who argued that the Title X program violated his religious freedom as a Christian to raise his daughters in accordance with Christian teachings on abstinence. The Title X program seeks to improve access to family planning services, including the provision of contraception, and does not necessarily require the parents or guardians of minors to consent to the provision of reproductive health care to minors accessing the service.
In his decision, Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk found that there was no compelling governmental reason to evade the parental rights of the plaintiff. The judge rejected the defendant’s argument that promoting reproductive health was a substantial reason for the evasion of parental rights in this case.
The decision means that prior to providing contraception, reproductive health care providers will now be required to obtain consent from the parents or guardians of minors.
In a statement, Planned Parenthood said that the decision “is part of an ongoing and coordinated effort waged by opponents of sexual and reproductive health care to use the judicial system to restrict birth control and other essential health care.”
This is the latest development in a series of restrictions on reproductive rights in Texas following the overturning of Roe v. Wade. The decision comes despite prior attempts by the Biden administration to protect access to contraception across the US.