On March 12, the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling that gave a Texas father the right to deny his daughters access to birth control made available through the federal government’s Title X free contraception program.

Alex Deanda believes Title X “facilitate(s) sexual promiscuity and pre-marital sex” and interferes with his right to raise his daughters “in accordance with Christian teaching on matters of sexuality, which requires unmarried children to practice abstinence.”

Deanda v. Becerra, like many other cases brought by conservative Christian plaintiffs in the name of religious freedom, is part of a strategic campaign to advance Christian nationalism by means of the judiciary.

Title X provides family planning services including birth control, pregnancy testing, cancer screenings, HIV and STI testing and treatment to low-income Americans, including teenagers. Passed with bipartisan support and signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1970, Title X is administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Population Affairs, which provides grants to 3,500 clinical sites, including public health departments and nonprofit health centers. Every Body Texas is the Title X facilitator for family planning in Texas and distributes federal funds to 156 clinics across the state.

Title X encourages parental involvement but does not require parental consent for teens to access birth control. Texas, however, has a state law that mandates parental permission, and the conflict between the two laws is at the heart of Deanda v. Becerra.

Normally, a federal law would supersede a state law, but conservatives looking to restrict birth control aren’t concerned with legal precedent. Because they don’t have the votes necessary to pass laws on a national scale, Christian conservatives are relying on likeminded judges to undermine federal law at the state level.

Read the rest of the article at Baptist News Global.