Planned Parenthood knows that knowledge is power. That is why Planned Parenthood is the single largest provider of sex education in the United States, reaching 1.5 million people with education and outreach each year. When Minnesotans receive quality sex education taught by trained educators, they are given the skills to take control of their own sexual health and the tools to treat their bodies, and the bodies of others, with respect. Sex education should cover a wide range of topics from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) to healthy relationships and always be inclusive of LGBTQ+ and non-able bodied Minnesotans.
Unfortunately, the Minnesota legislature places little to no guidelines on Minnesota schools’ sexual education programs. This creates a stratification of knowledge throughout the state and leaves certain communities more susceptible to outbreaks of STIs and higher rates of unwanted pregnancy. Even though medical studies have proven time and time again that abstinence-only sex education programs are ineffective, abstinence-only reigns in Minnesota.
Currently, Minnesota has no statewide requirements for teaching sex ed. . There is no requirement to teach about contraceptives, include consent education, or for sex education to be LGBTQ+ inclusive.
The only guidelines for sexual education in Minnesota are that a sex education course must be taught that includes:
- STD/STI and HIV/AIDS education
- Abstinence must be taught as the only 100% effective way to protect against unplanned pregnancy, STDs/STIs, and sexually transmitted HIV/AIDS.
- And that all information is technically- though not medically- accurate
Unfortunately, an effort to allow schools to include age-appropriate consent instruction in existing health curricula failed at the Minnesota legislature in 2018.
Implementing guidelines are especially pertinent in Minnesota, where STI and STD rates have been rapidly increasing. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the number of women with syphilis is at a record high and the rate of chlamydia is also at an all-time high. From 2007-2017, the chlamydia rate increased by 71% and the gonorrhea rate increased by 84% Planned Parenthood helps to curb these rates through both our affordable health care services and our sexual education programs.
Education at Planned Parenthood
The 16 unique education programs provided by Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota reach more than 40,000 young people and adults each year with information on healthy sexuality, communication, and healthy decision making. All education programs are age-appropriate, inclusive, culturally relevant, and evidence-based.
Planned Parenthood offers culturally-specific programs that are tailored to the specific cultural, medical, and linguistic needs of Minnesota’s many rich and diverse communities. Many of these programs, like Hmong STAR and Native STAND, are peer-to-peer youth education programs that have been found to be the most effective way to communicate information to teens. Others, like Entre Amigas and Partnership Project, give adults the resources to be a source of information and education within their communities.
All of Planned Parenthood’s programs incorporate consent language. From a condom demonstration to a lesson on healthy relationships, Planned Parenthood educators use scenario-based exercises to highlight the importance and explain the nuances of consent.