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Sex Education Speak Out!

Funding for PPHeartland's education programs is under attack. Tell us why access to sex education is important to you.

Jesse - Sioux City, IA

I was involved in teen theater troop during my high school years. I will be celebrating my 20th class reunion this summer so this was many moons ago. With that being say, I believe what we did would still be relevant today. We were a group of high schoolers that tour high schools to perform skits. The skits we performed were  about abstinence, safe sex, and other topics that were relevant to the sexual pressures and or other aspects that our peers face in that period of time with sex and sexuality . I look back fondly on this time because we paved the way for open and honest communication about the topics we cover in our performances. Which also help them become knowledgeable about issues that were always easily to talk about.

I truly feel blessed to be a part of Teen Theatre Troop because it showed that Planned Parenthood was much more then what most people believe it to be and that is an abortion center. Which is a minute portion of what this great organization does.

April - Des Moines, IA

This is important as if it wasn't for planned parenthood or sex education I wouldn't have known how to get the birth control for me. Planned parenthood helped me while in college and at my first full time job get the birth control at an affordable rate. Along with that they were able to help when I got an STD with the medicine that was needed to help clear that up.

Nicole - Des Moines, IA

Because teenagers need good information to protect themselves. Planned Parenthood kept me from becoming a teenage mother by educating me and providing contraceptive services. Planned Parenthood is the reason I can give my kids a good life as an adult.

Anonymous - Anthon, IA

I have twin teenage girls without sex ed and planned parenthood, my daughter's would not be educated on sex, pregnancy, STD's, healthy relationships, ways to avoid pregnancy this all keeping these girls healthy physically and emotionally.  Due to the current funding and programs available my girls are much more educated helping them to grow while making healthy choices.

Sydni - Urbandale, IA

Because effective sex education is the cornerstone for SO MANY important conversations, including pregnancy and STD prevention, body basics, orientation and identity, consent, boundary-setting, respect and communication, online safety...the list goes on! These are the empowering conversations I wish I would have received and would have highly benefited from during my middle/high school years. Our next generations deserve more.

Hannah - Des Moines, IA

Sex education is important for our future.  People need to learn about their bodies and the correct terms of our body parts.  We must learn about consent, protection/safe practices, cultural differences, and how to maintain healthy intimate relationships.  There is so many things that people don't know about the topic of sex because we have not learn to comfortably talk about sex.  We must keep Sex Education available.

Olivia - Ames, IA

Sex education is important because it keeps me and my friends safe and healthy. I am constantly shocked to hear how little some of my peers know about sexual health.

Shaylyn - Cedar Falls, IA

Sex education is important because without it, people are unaware of the consequences having sex can have, including sexually transmitted diseases. Some young people not given a proper sex education don't even understand how pregnancy happens, which becomes a giant issue of more unwanted and/or unsafe pregnancies. We need sex education because sex is a natural part of being a human being and people should be educated about what they're doing or may do in the future.

Anna - Eagle Grove, IA

When I was 14 years old, there was a girl in my school who was coerced into sex. She had no idea what an unhealthy relationship looked like or how to get help out. She also had no idea how to prevent the pregnancy that happened as a result as we grew up in a really conservative area. If she had known, she would have had the tools to protect herself from pregnancy and would likely be in college today instead of struggling as a single parent with a minimum wage job.

Larry - Abingdon, IA

I'm 74 years old, got married at 16 it worked for 33 yrs. I've seen and lived what young unprotected sex can do. it gave us a family which then we had to work our buts off to support. Don't get me wrong I woundn't take anything back. But it didn't have to be. We didn't know anything had to learn as we grew. It was hard, missed out prom, hanging out. etc. I see now the young kids don't have the jobs we had to make ends meet, so they really need sex education.

Adelaide - Iowa City, IA

Sex education helped me realize in high school that it was okay to be queer. Although sex ed in Iowa must be greatly expanded to be more queer-inclusive, my sex ed teacher was incredibly supportive and helped me explore and settle into my identity as a queer woman. Before this, I had never had a role model who discussed homosexuality in a way that did not make it seem taboo or stigmatized.

Beyond this, sex ed has been proven to reduce unintended pregnancies and STI rates in teens. I became sexually active at 16 (the national average), and my sex education arrived just in time to ensure that I was prepared for safe, healthy, and consensual sex when I felt ready for it.

Linda - Cedar Rapids, IA

Planned Parenthood will always be the  clinic where access to good information about  sex and our bodies and how they work and sensitivity by the staff are found.

No other  medical clinics seem to be able to be non-judgemental and deliver services for the betterment of each  client.

Student - Des Moines, IA

It's important for everyone to know.

Deborah - Cedar Rapids, IA

Children and youth need to know what behavior is risky and what is safe. Simply telling them not to do something is not going to prevent STIs or unwanted pregnancies. They need to have the mystery removed so sex can be understood - the good and the bad. Telling a teenager "don't do it" is the fastest way to get them to do it.

Danika - Ames, IA

This semester I took a class called The History of Reproductive Rights in America. When class first started in the spring, we all shared our experience with sex education. The sex ed curriculum at my high school was part of health class (students were required to take this or adult living) and I remember learning about STI's, contraceptives such as male and internal condoms, oral contraceptive pills, and a little about male and female anatomy, and of course the teacher did not forget about absinence. It was awkward and not enough to know about how my body works. Until recently, I had never even seen my vagina! Some people go their whole lives without curiosity about their bodies and it is absolutely absurd for sex to still be a taboo subject. I love talking about sex, but others get uncomfortable with my comfort with the word 'vagina'. I think the lack of initiative and curiosity to learn is really too bad. Because once people start to be sexually adventurous, they have no idea what they're doing! This is ridiculous. As a volunteer at Planned Parenthood AND A SEXUALLY ACTIVE WOMAN, it is so important that people are educated about their bodies and sexualities, of any spectrum. Planned Parenthood has done a fantastic job and provided numerous opportunities to educate the community, but it is up to you to know about your body.

Anonymous - Ames, IA

Sex education taught me about sexually transmitted diseases and gave me an area to openly ask questions. It taught me where to go and who to seek in case I needed help.

Anonymous - Ames, IA

Sex education is important because it teaches teens how to have safe sex.  I learned all about various birth control options and the importance of preventing STIs from sex education.  Without learning these things, I might have gotten into an unsafe situation, but because my school taught me, I feel empowered and prepared to take care of my body.

Anonymous - Des Moines, IA

Because my only sex ed was horrible, outdated videos in school and rumors I had heard. Oh and the "Are you f**king him?" I got from my mom in high school. That's it. I was pressured into having sex - I didn't know what consent was and that it should be enthusiastic or reversable. Kids of all genders need quality sex ed to navigate STIs, their changing bodies, and consent. Birth rates, STI rates, and rape all decrease when we have effective sex education.

Pat - Iowa Falls, IA

My best friend and I both went to Catholic high schools. My mother had passed away when I was not quite 9 yrs. old, and my step-mother didn't feel comfortable talking to me about sex. My older cousins wouldn't answer my questions. My BFF's mom was considerably older and also didn't feel comfortable with this topic. We knew we weren't going to get sex ed in our schools, so we wound up getting a copy of "Everything You always Wanted to Know about Sex..." just so we would know at least the basics. This is why I believe that sex ed in schools is a good idea, especially with girls getting pregnant earlier and earlier.

Tess - West Des Moines, IA

I was raised in a fairly progressive household. My family is quite open about all topics under the sun, and sexuality is definitely included, if not a favorite of ours. I remember having conversations about STI's, birth control, and the importance of a woman's right to choose with my family starting at a young age. I find myself extremely lucky, because when I started having sex, I was also being taught sex education in school. I am one of the very few people that can actually say that I received a plethora of sex education, not only from my family, but also from my school. But most people don't have that experience. Sex ed taught me so many things that have had such a positive impact on my life. Ever since high school, it has been a dream of mine to be a sex educator. Seeing proposed legislation like this will either force me to forget a long-held dream of mine or move out of the state, is that what Iowa lawmakers really want to do?

Anonymous - Ames, IA

I grew up in a state with a GREAT sexual education but when I went to another state for college surrounded by people from all over I learned that wasn't normal. Teaching abstinence only creates a toxic environment for sex later on. It is also very very dangerous to have men in change of making choices for woman's health when they were taught nothing about it. Ignorance is no longer bliss when your male boss is upset you can't "shut off" your period. 🙄 I also recieved an open conversation and sex talk from my parents so when I was old enough for birth control I was comfortable talking to them about it while many of my friends were shamed and hide it from their parents, or were so afraid they would get caught with it that they didn't use protection at all and suffered the consequences.

Chelsea - Des Moines, IA

My school's sex education curriculum didn't cover any female sex organs beside ovaries and uterus, so girls in my class didn't learn about their bodies or how to take care of them. The Planned Parenthood sex educator who visited another group I was in answered all our questions in a way that encouraged healthy discussion. Many of my friends were sexually active by age 15, and access to Planned Parenthood education meant we knew how to protect ourselves from STIs, where and how to get contraception, and how to access shame-free medical care. It's where I got free counseling and birth control when I couldn't turn to my family. Now that I can afford to donate, I do so, in the hopes that other girls will benefit as much as I did from the care and respect shown by Planned Parenthood staff.

Anonymous - Urbandale, IA

Educating our young people about birth control is absolutely the best defense against abortion, a decision that is upsetting and unsettling--no one "wants" to be in that position.  Parents often are uneasy talking directly with their children about how to protect themselves (unfortunately) as often the understanding is just how I grew up in a Catholic household in the 1980's:  "My parents would kill me if I got pregnant" was really about all I knew.  Thankfully, I chose to learn more after I moved out, but there were still occasions of risk-taking that were not necessary.

Mindy - Des Moines, IA

I am a nurse for PPHeartland and speak everyday to young women and men everyday about birth control, STI's, and abortion. Their lack of basic knowledge about their bodies is at times overwhelming. They know sex can cause pregnancy, but really knowing about their bodies and how they work is all together a different story. When I show them the models of their bodies they are so curious and eager to learn. Most young women have no idea how their bodies work and how the birth control works, Sex is a part of dating across the spectrum of color. It doesn't matter what gender, race or ethnicity. There is no abstaining within any culture. It is widely accepted to have sex amongst all ages. It is so very important that all have protection and know how it works. They DO NOT get the education at home. We NEED to continue all the programs involving sex education.

Libbey - Cedar Rapids, IA

Sex education = abortion prevention.

Jill - Indianola, IA

Because knowledge is power! It's important to me that my kids know as much as possible about their bodies, puberty, and sex! We do a huge disservice to future generations by giving body parts cutesy names and refusing to explain the positives and negatives about sex and our bodies! Sex shouldn't be embarrassing and shameful! It's normal and can be amazing and rewarding, especially when you have been given the tools to do it in the most safe and healthy way possible!

Emily - Ankeny, IA

Because I was required to take geometry but wasn't even offered sex ed. Guess which one was more relevant to my adult life.

Connor - Iowa City, IA

Sex education is vital to our education as Iowans and citizens of the world. It is important we also teach about consent and being respectful of your partners' body. I think people shy away from (at least when I was in grade school) talking about consent and practical sexual health and that needs to change. Additionally, the current Republican leadership in Iowa needs to be exposed for its backwards and dangerous ideas on care and access.

Anonymous - Waverly, IA

Sex education is vital because I grew up with very little of it and as a result ended up being in unhealthy relationships and having health issues. Now I am well educated on sexual health, in part because of using services provided by Planned Parenthood. I frequently am alarmed by how many people I still meet who have very limited knowledge about sexual health. Comprehensive sexual education literally saves lives.

Bryn - Northwood, IA

Sex education is important to educate people about the truth of conception, pregnancy and biology.

I would like to conduct an experiment. In our experiment we are going to take one of Kim Renolds eggs and artificially inseminate it with Terry Branstad's sperm, creating a super Republican embryo. We will put this embryo in a peetree dish. Kim can put it under her pillow for 9 months. During the 9 months she can take it out and rub it like a magic lantern,  blow on it and pray for it. At the end of 9 months she can take it out from under her pillow and open it up. How much life is in there? The answer is none. Because conception in and of itself isn't life. The embryo needs a few more things to have the potential of life and even then it isn't guaranteed. And everything the embryo needs to attain life, doesn't belong to either the egg or the sperm. Women's bodies do not belong to the government of a free and democratic country. The separation of church and state, protect al women from radical religious ideology. You have a right to believe what you want to believe. But you don't have a right to dictate law based on your religious ideology. Women must in a civilized nation have control of their own bodies.