Watchdog Files Two Lawsuits Against HHS Seeking Records Regarding Administration’s Efforts to Roll Back Funding for Comprehensive Family Planning
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 6, 2019
Contact: Bryan Dewan, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.780.5750
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Campaign for Accountability (“CfA”), represented by American Oversight, filed two Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) lawsuits against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) seeking records regarding the Trump Administration’s efforts to roll back Title X funding for comprehensive family planning services.
CfA Counsel Alice Huling said, “Congress appropriates funding for Title X to ensure women, especially those with low incomes, have access to comprehensive family planning services, but the Trump administration seems intent on preventing women from accessing these critical healthcare services. CfA is filing suit to discover who is pushing these restrictive policies.”
The first lawsuit seeks calendars and communications for Diane Foley, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Population Affairs, who leads the office responsible for administering the Title X Federal Family Planning Program. The Title X program awards federal funding to clinics that provide comprehensive family planning services to low-income Americans. Ms. Foley previously was the president and CEO of Life Network, which operates two anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers in Colorado.
Additionally, the lawsuit also seeks communications between HHS officials and Obria Medical Clinics. Obria is a network of anti-abortion pregnancy clinics that do not offer comprehensive family planning services. Obria has characterized itself as an anti-abortion alternative to Planned Parenthood, but it also refuses to provide any contraceptive options – such as oral contraceptives, IUDs, or condoms – other than “fertility awareness.”
CfA asked HHS to release these calendars and communications in December, but HHS has failed to respond.
The second lawsuit seeks several applications for federal funding. In December 2018, CfA asked HHS for copies of all applications submitted by Obria for the Title V Sexual Risk Avoidance Education Program, which provides federal funding for maternal and child healthcare. In 2018, Obria received a grant for $450,000 from HHS to provide abstinence-only education services.
In December 2018, CfA also requested copies of Obria’s 2018 application for Title X funding. In January 2019, CfA submitted a new request for Obria’s 2019 application. At the same time CfA also requested the 2019 Title X application materials submitted by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and the Arizona Department of Health Services, as well as records sufficient to identify the entities that applied for 2019 Title X funding. HHS has failed to respond to CfA’s requests.
Ms. Huling continued, “There is broad support for the use and availability of contraception among Americans, yet this administration is doing its best to limit access to the tools needed to prevent unplanned pregnancies. The questions are why and at whose direction? These records will reveal whether the Trump administration is misappropriating federal funds for ideological purposes.”
Campaign for Accountability is a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog organization that uses research, litigation, and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life and hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.