May 3, 2018 (Des Moines, IA) – In an effort to prove just how little Iowa cares for reproductive and sexual health care, the Iowa Legislature has introduced a health and human services budget that would take three sexual health education grants away from the state’s largest and leading provider of sex education: Planned Parenthood of the Heartland.
The bill specifically bars organizations that provide safe, legal abortion from participating in the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), Abstinence Education Grant Program (AEGP), and Community Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention and Services program (CAPP) – grants that Planned Parenthood has repeatedly been awarded to provide much-needed sexual health education to Iowa youth.
“On the heels of passing the most extreme abortion ban in the nation, GOP leadership now also seek to ensure Iowans struggle to access not just family planning and OB/GYN care, but even the basic information about their bodies,” said Erin Davison-Rippey, director of public affairs. “Face the facts: People have sex, and young people should get age-appropriate, medically accurate information and answers to their questions about sex and relationships, without being shamed or judged. Furthermore, young people have the right to the information and skills they need to protect their health – before they start having sex.”
Because the grants in question are federal funds administered by the state, this policy provision would have zero impact on Iowa’s bottom line. The language is yet another targeted attack on Planned Parenthood, strong-armed into the budget by lawmakers who have personal objections to safe, legal abortion – even though the most recent Iowa Poll showed that 7 in 10 Iowans want the Legislature to restore the public funding already stripped from Planned Parenthood in 2017.
“Any reasonable person who wants to see fewer abortions should work with Planned Parenthood to promote sex education and family planning," Davison-Rippey said. "As a leading source of reproductive and sexual health education, PPHeartland’s programs help people understand what a healthy relationship is, practice personal responsibility, delay sexual activity, and protect themselves from unintended pregnancy and STDs if they are sexually active.
“Alas, as the Legislature leans toward adjournment, these anti-woman politicians remain obsessed with attacking Planned Parenthood and, quite frankly, oppressing women. Iowans will remember the outrage they are feeling right now during these last days of session – and they will hold politicians responsible for their actions.”