A law passed by the Iowa Legislature and signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds last year would have blocked Planned Parenthood of the Heartland from providing state-approved sex education to young Iowans through two federal grants administered by Iowa state agencies. The Polk County District Court just ruled it unconstitutional.
The narrow and reckless law in question, House File 766, was designed by anti-abortion lawmakers so federal grant money could not go to any organization that provides abortion care or associates with a group that provides abortions. Along with Planned Parenthood, we immediately challenged it.
The defunding effort was also meant to undermine the important needs that Iowa teens have across the state for accurate, reliable information about their bodies and their relationships.
Planned Parenthood provides age-appropriate, medically accurate sex education at 31 schools and 12 community-based youth-serving organizations across Iowa, with a focus on areas with the highest rates of unintended pregnancies and STIs. The decision from the Polk County District Court ensures that young Iowans across the state will continue to have access to medically accurate sex education programs.
Research shows that when young people receive comprehensive sex education, they are more likely to have healthy relationships, lower rates of unintended pregnancies, and decreased need for abortion.
Decades of research also show that comprehensive approaches to sex education, which include information on condoms, contraception, and abstinence, effectively delay sexual activity and increase condom and contraceptive use when young people do become sexually active.
We are grateful for the decision today because we believe that the full exercise of reproductive rights depends on having access to complete information. Planned Parenthood provides that for Iowa teens across our state.