Iowa law excluding Planned Parenthood from sex ed funding is deemed unconstitutional

By: - May 8, 2020 3:49 pm

A district judge has struck down an Iowa law excluding Planned Parenthood from state sex education funding. (Photo by Getty Images)

An Iowa law that excluded Planned Parenthood of the Heartland from state sex education funding has been ruled unconstitutional by a district judge.

In 2019, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law a measure requiring the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Iowa Department of Human Services to exclude organizations from their teen pregnancy prevention and sex education grant funding that perform or promote abortions.

However, it still allowed nonprofit hospitals and medical centers who performed abortions to remain eligible for funding.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland filed a lawsuit against the state and sought a temporary injunction for the portion of the law that restricted funding. The injunction was approved in May 2019.

Using the state’s rational basis test, Fifth Judicial District Judge Paul Scott ruled Wednesday the law is unconstitutional due to the exception for non-profit hospitals and medical centers, undermining the state’s rationale that it doesn’t want funding to go toward abortion providers.

“The Act has no valid, ‘realistically conceivable’ purpose that serves a legitimate government interest as it is both irrationally overinclusive and under-inclusive,” Scott wrote. “The Act violates PPH’s right to equal protection under the law and is therefore unconstitutional.”

Erin Davison-Rippey, Iowa executive director of Planned Parenthood North Central States, applauded the ruling. “Today’s decision ensures that teens and young adults across Iowa will continue to have access to medically accurate sex education programs, despite the narrow and reckless policies of anti-abortion lawmakers,” she said in a news release.

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