On Wednesday, Iowa’s Supreme Court said that the state can block Planned Parenthood from conducting its sex education programs in public schools.
According to the Associated Press, the decision reverses a judge’s 2020 ruling that found a 2019 law passed by a Republican-controlled Legislature banning Planned Parenthood-led sex education was unconstitutional. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s issued a complaint against the law, arguing that it violated the organization’s right to equal protection and “served no rational legitimate government interest,” the Associated Press reports.
On Wednesday, however, six justices, all appointed by Republican governors, found that the concerns of Iowa lawmakers could be reasonable since Planned Parenthood-led sex education could undermine the state’s goals of teaching abstinence and reducing teen pregnancy.
“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,” Justice Dana Oxley wrote in the majority opinion.
On the other hand, Justice Brent Appel, the court’s lone Democratic appointee, disagreed in a dissenting opinion, arguing that the Legislature “through unconstitutional conditions in these statutes is trying to accomplish indirectly what it cannot do directly: namely, attack abortion rights.”
Since 2005, Planned Parenthood had received federal funding and had used the state’s curriculum to teach sex education to tens of thousands of Iowa’s youth. Presently, the abortion giant provides sex education to over 30 schools and 15 community-based youth-serving organizations across Iowa.
Rita Bettis Austen, the legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, expressed disappointment over the high court’s ruling.
“We are disappointed that the law was upheld because we understand the harm to young Iowans that will result from this decision,” she said. “We were privileged to support Planned Parenthood in the vital work they do every day to empower Iowans with sex education and teen pregnancy prevention programming.”
The ACLU of Iowa provided legal support to Planned Parenthood in the case.
Praising the ruling, however, was Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds (R), who signed the bill into law.
Reynolds called the ruling “a strong statement in support of the idea that taxpayer dollars should not fund abortion,” adding that she is “proud to be a pro-life governor who will protect all innocent life.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Mario Tama/Staff
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.