Iowa Supreme Court Allows State to Block Planned Parenthood Sex Ed Funds

Parents in cities across the U.S. as well as Canada, Australia, and now the U.K. are parti

The Iowa Supreme Court ruled the state may prohibit abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood of the Heartland (PPH) from providing sex education programs funded by federal grants.

In a 6-1 decision, the state’s high court upheld a 2019 law that banned Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers from receiving the federal funds to provide sex ed programs.

In a statement sent to Breitbart News, Monica Cline, a former Title X Planned Parenthood-educated sex education instructor, said the Iowa Supreme Court’s decision is one that “parents and their kids should be celebrating.”

“Planned Parenthood’s entire business model relies on separating kids from their parents, who are referred to as barriers to service,” Cline, now the founder of It Takes A Family, said. “If Planned Parenthood is allowed in our schools, it means they are talking to your kids about sex, contraception, STDs, and their version of healthy relationships.”

“If parents don’t connect with their kids and talk about the hard topics, someone else will,” she asserted. “And thanks to the Iowa Supreme Court, it’s not going to be Planned Parenthood.”

The ruling reversed one by district court Judge Paul Scott in May 2020 that said Planned Parenthood would likely prevail on its claim of equal protection, reported ABC News.

The state subsequently appealed.

The decision was primarily focused on two state-funded sex ed programs, the Community Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention program (CAPP), and the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), noted the Des Moines Register.

Both the CAPP and PREP programs use standard lesson plans that exclude discussion of abortion.

Justice Dana Oxley, an appointee of Gov. Kim Reynolds (R), wrote the majority opinion:

Upon careful analysis of the challenged constitutional rights and the State’s interest in selecting the messenger for its programs, we conclude the conditions are rationally related to the classification selected by the general assembly. Because an abortion provider lacks a freestanding constitutional right to provide abortions, any conditions premised on providing abortions cannot be considered unconstitutional.

The programs are presented to school-age children, often related to a school setting. Even if the programs do not include any discussions about abortion, the goals of promoting abstinence and reducing teenage pregnancy could arguably still be undermined when taught by the entity that performs nearly all abortions in Iowa. The State could also be concerned that using abortion providers to deliver sex education programs to teenage students would create relationships between the abortion provider and the students the State does not wish to foster in light of its policy preference for childbirth over abortion. The government has considerable leeway in selecting who will deliver a government message, whether the message is a diversity and inclusion program, a drug prevention program, or, in this case, a sexual education and teen pregnancy prevention program.

These considerations provide a factual basis to support the State’s assertion that the general assembly could have passed the Act out of concern that its message could be diluted if PPH, the primary abortion provider in the state, delivered the state-sponsored sexual education programs.

“This is a disappointing day for young Iowans who have relied on Planned Parenthood for more than a decade to provide them with comprehensive, age-appropriate sex education,” said Sarah Stoesz, CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States, in a press statement.

She elaborated:

Today’s decision is a major setback for public health. Parents agree that young people need medically accurate information to make healthy decisions that will determine the trajectory of their lives. As Iowa’s largest sex education provider, we are committed to our critical sex education programs, and we are invested in continuing this important work.

Rita Bettis Austen, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Iowa, also said the Iowa Supreme Court’s ruling will allow the Iowa law to “interfere” with a program that is “crucial to protecting the Iowa teens who rely on Planned Parenthood to provide education and teen pregnancy prevention programming.”

“We are disappointed that the law was upheld because we understand the harm to young Iowans that will result from this decision,” she added.

The case is Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, v. Reynolds, No. 20-804 in the Supreme Court of Iowa.


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