A lawyer for Planned Parenthood today asked an Iowa judge to suspend a new law that blocks Planned Parenthood from getting federal grants to provide sex education to at-risk teens. Attorney Julie Murray said Planned Parenthood is the only organization currently providing federally-funded sex education in the six targeted Iowa counties.
“The defund of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland will affect services in these counties,” she said.
If the law is not put on hold, the organization would likely be barred from this federal funding for at least three years. Murray said that could jeopardize the program’s progress in reducing teen pregnancy rates.
A lawyer for the state said under the law, Planned Parenthood could still choose to provide sex education without receiving the federal funding to do so.
“Yes, they will have to do it without the assistance of the…grant money, but…nowhere in their petition in their petition do they say that they are unable to bear that cost themselves,” said Assistant Attorney General Thomas Ogden.
He told the judge Planned Parenthood won’t be “irreparably harmed” by the law. Planned Parenthood’s lawyer told the judge there aren’t other providers who qualify for these grants, so the law could jeopardize progress in reducing teen pregnancy rates among at-risk Iowa youth.
A Polk County judge will decide whether to put the law on hold until the court issues a ruling on the appeal.
(Thanks to Iowa Public Radio’s Katarina Sostaric)