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Federal judge in Spokane blocks Trump administration from cutting Planned Parenthood program funds

(Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A federal judge in Spokane has issued a permanent injunction blocking the Trump administration from cutting grants to Planned Parenthood that pay for a teen pregnancy prevention program in Western states.

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Rice issued his ruling late Tuesday, saying public interest weighs in favor of Planned Parenthood.

“The Court determines that the public interest weighs in favor of (Planned Parenthood), as it would prevent harm to the community … and prevent loss of data regarding the effectiveness of teen pregnancy prevention,” Rice wrote.

This marks the second time in a week a federal judge has ruled against the Trump administration with regard to teen pregnancy prevention. Last week, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., ruled that the Trump administration’s plan to cut funds to the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program were unlawful.

Last summer, Planned Parenthood launched a suit against the Trump administration after it ended Teen Pregnancy Prevention grants for 81 organizations across the nation.

The grants to fund the program were supposed to run through 2020, but the Department of Health and Human Services said the grants would end in 2018 instead, arguing that the program was unsuccessful.

The lawsuit by Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho sought to reverse a decision by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to cut funding to the pregnancy prevention program.