The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled that the state can block Planned Parenthood from teaching sex education courses in public schools.
"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 court's majority opinion, according to The Hill.
The Iowa law banning abortion providers from teaching sex education courses passed a Republican-led Legislature more than two years ago but was held up by a lawsuit from Planned Parenthood, who argued that it violated their right to equal protection.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican who signed the original legislation into law, said the state's Supreme Court decision sent "a strong statement in support of the idea that taxpayer dollars should not fund abortion" and that she is "proud to be a pro-life governor who will protect all innocent life."
As a result of the decision, Planned Parenthood will no longer receive grants from the state to teach sex education. But the court mentioned in the ruling that it would not affect the organization's ability to perform abortions.
“This is a disappointing day for young Iowans who have relied on Planned Parenthood for more than a decade to provide them with comprehensive, age-appropriate sex education,” said Sarah Stoesz, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States.
“Today’s decision is a major setback for public health," Stoesz added. "Parents agree that young people need medically accurate information to make healthy decisions that will determine the trajectory of their lives. As Iowa’s largest sex education provider, we are committed to our critical sex education programs, and we are invested in continuing this important work."
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