Planned Parenthood Fights (and Loses) Battle to Limit Parents’ Sex-Ed Rights

Late in July, Alaska state Rep. Wes Keller’s (R-Wasilla) House Bill 156 was passed into law, enabling parents to opt their children out of standardized testing and other activities, classes, and programs they find objectionable. HB 156 also requires schools to notify parents of any curriculum involving sexual behavior and to make the curriculum available for parental review.

Keller said he worked harder on passing this bill “than any bill I’ve ever worked on.”

“The reason is because of the intense opposition by Planned Parenthood,” Keller told me in an interview. “The Planned Parenthood group is claiming they got 4,800 people to call the governor to encourage him to veto the bill. That kind of opposition has an impact.”

Why is Planned Parenthood so against giving parents a say in what their children learn? Why does the organization, which has “parent” in its very name, so distrust parents to raise their own children and have them taught as they see fit?

Planned Parenthood is afraid that by giving parents a choice in what their children learn, parents will opt Planned Parenthood right out of existence.

Planned Parenthood receives half-a-billion dollars from the government each year, funding they’re afraid they’ll lose if parents are empowered to control their children’s education — thanks to laws such as HB 156.

After the Alaska Legislature passed HB 156 earlier this summer, Susan Reeves, “a parent and grandparent of students in Alaska public schools,” wrote an op-ed in the Alaska Dispatch News urging Gov. Bill Walker (I) to veto the bill “to keep Alaska healthy.”

Reeves wrote, “The need for sex education in Alaska is clear. We lead the nation in rates of chlamydia and are near the top in rates of gonorrhea. We are well above the national average on teen pregnancy.”

Leading the nation in chlamydia, gonorrhea, and teen pregnancy after years of sex education training in the schools? Keep up the good work, Planned Parenthood.

Reeves goes on to lambaste HB 156 for making sex ed “the most rigorously regulated subject in the state, applying an unfair level of scrutiny present in no other part of our education system.”

Does Reeves want our children to be taught any old thing about human reproduction by anyone who feels compelled to take the reins? Parents should be informed about and involved in every aspect of what their children learn. Is Reeves afraid parents will learn too much about what their children are actually being taught? What are sex educators hiding?

Kansas parent Mark Ellis made national headlines in in 2014 when he found out his middle school daughter was being taught about “oral sex,” “anal sex,” and “masturbation” in her public school.

Ellis’s discovery sparked national outrage and brought attention to explicit materials students are exposed to in public schools. The controversy also inspired a bill that is intended to make it easier for parents to protect their children from information they consider harmful.

“This heavy burden is meant to do only one thing: stop sex ed for students in Alaska,” Reeves wrote. “HB 156 would institute some of the strictest standards on sex ed in the country and leave young people uninformed and at risk.”

Reeves is wrong. If sex ed for students in Alaska is stopped, it’s because parents made the choice to educate their children about sex how, when, and in what manner they see fit—without interference from an organization with a very clear agenda.

If Planned Parenthood is doing such an exemplary job in Alaska, Ms. Reeves and Planned Parenthood have nothing to fear. But judging by the panicked reaction they had to the passage of HB 156, I believe Planned Parenthood does indeed have something to fear.

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