The Iowa Supreme Court considered arguments Tuesday about a state law that defunds Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups of sex education grants.
In 2019, Iowa lawmakers voted to disqualify abortion providers from its sex education program in response to a strong outcry from state residents. But Planned Parenthood of the Heartland sued, claiming the state unfairly singled it out, and a state judge blocked the law.
This week, the state appealed that ruling in front of the Iowa Supreme Court, telling the justices that Iowans do not want their tax dollars to subsidize abortions, the Iowa Capital Dispatch reports.
State attorney Thomas J. Ogden emphasized that Planned Parenthood is an abortion advocacy group, and giving it taxpayer-funded grants sends the message that Iowa supports its abortion work, according to the report.
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“If you’re a parent or, you know, a citizen of the state and you find out that Planned Parenthood is providing sex education under these programs for Iowa teens, … there’s a risk that you would react to that differently than you would react to somebody who is not engaged in extracurricular, for lack of a better phrase, performance of abortions or advocacy in favor of access to abortion,” Ogden said.
He said the state should be allowed to choose which groups to provide grants to, especially when a group’s advocacy “undermines or confuses” the state’s goals, the report continues.
Planned Parenthoods in Iowa received about $265,000 in sex education grants in 2019 and about $182,000 in 2020, The Gazette reported last year. The abortion chain provides sex education in 31 schools and 12 youth organizations in Iowa.
Planned Parenthood told the justices that it is being unfairly targeted and pointed to an exception in the law for hospitals.
But Ogden said the differences is that these hospitals are not abortion advocacy groups, and Planned Parenthood is, according to the report.
The hospitals are “not associated with the performance of or advocacy for abortions in the same way as Planned Parenthood, even though they may perform a small number of abortions or refer a small number of patients for them,” he told the justices.
Julie Murray, the lawyer for Planned Parenthood, told the court Tuesday that abortion is a “fundamental right,” but its sex education programs in Iowa “do not have an abortion-related message.”
In 2019, Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union challenged the pro-life law soon after Gov. Kim Reynolds, the first female governor of Iowa, signed it. That same year, a judge blocked the state from enforcing the law until a final decision could be made about its constitutionality.
Then in 2020, a judge ruled against the law, arguing that it “has no valid, ‘realistic conceivable’ purpose that serves a legitimate government interest as it is both irrationally overinclusive and under-inclusive.”
Iowa appealed to the state Supreme Court.
Parents across the country have expressed serious concerns and even outrage when they learn that the largest abortion provider in America is teaching sex education to their children.
Planned Parenthood teaches sex education to at least 221,000 students in 31 states, according to CBS News.
Among its worst teaching points, Planned Parenthood tells children that promiscuity is ok. “There’s nothing bad or unhealthy about having a big number of sexual partners,” it tells students on its Tumbler page. Planned Parenthood’s booklet for HIV-positive youth, “Healthy, Happy and Hot,” tells young people that it is their “human right” to not tell their sexual partner that they have HIV.
Numerous communities have rejected Planned Parenthood as a sex education teacher. The whole Massachusetts legislature rejected a bill in 2017 that recommended Planned Parenthood’s middle school sex education curriculum. The program teaches children as young as 12 “how to perform oral and anal sex.”
Concerned parents in Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, California, Washington state, New York, North Carolina and other parts of the country also have protested Planned Parenthood’s involvement in their students’ education in the past several years.
In another recent case, parents at a Pennsylvania school said a Planned Parenthood partner group taught seventh-grade students graphic details about oral sex during a science class.
Meanwhile, according to CBS News, North Carolina parents raised concerns in 2018 about Planned Parenthood’s “Get Real” curriculum. They said it “encourages sixth graders to feel ‘comfortable and ready’ for sex. The petition says the curriculum provides flash cards outlining proper condom usage, for ‘vaginal, oral or anal sex’ and recommends the usage of ‘non-microwavable saran wrap’ as a prophylactic for certain non-reproductive sex acts.”
Many worry that Planned Parenthood uses its sex education programs to push abortion as well. One of its former CEO recently made it clear that abortion is Planned Parenthood’s “core mission.”