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Clarification: When the city told us about an important infrastructure project, they made a fair offer for the warehouse to avoid the eminent domain process and the legal fight for both parties. In this increasingly hostile landscape, Planned Parenthood is often fighting legal battles to protect the right of Iowans to access essential health care and much needed sex education. We often have to make hard decisions about where to allocate resources to support our mission. We recognized that by coming to a mutual agreement with the city with a fair purchase price for the warehouse, we could continue supporting sex education in Iowa and preserve our legal resources for the fight to protect Iowans’ freedom to control their health, bodies, and future. We are thankful for the city’s open communication and partnership in that process

Des Moines, IA — Leaders from Planned Parenthood North Central States announced today its biannual Planned Parenthood Book Sale will end after more than 60 years. The more than $10 million raised since the book sale began has fueled the work of Planned Parenthood educators, who provide comprehensive, medically accurate sex education to thousands of Iowans each year.  

The decision comes after a city of Des Moines plan to acquire the book sale’s warehouse under eminent domain. Planned Parenthood will continue to financially support sex education in Iowa at the same level as was raised at the Book Sale through an endowed fund established by the sale of the warehouse to the city. 

 “It’s with very mixed emotions and a heavy heart that we are announcing the end of the Planned Parenthood Book Sale after more than sixty years,” said Ruth Richardson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States. “I’m a lifelong book lover and in the words of Fredrick Douglass, ‘Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.’ I know this book sale means so much to so many people who have cherished memories of picking through rows of books, and the joy of finding a hidden gem. We are profoundly grateful for the passion in this community and especially the commitment that hundreds of volunteers have brought to the event and our mission. Change is hard and we recognize that. We also know that the powerful legacy of the Planned Parenthood Book Sale will live on through an endowment that will continue to provide the opportunity to invest in comprehensive sex education and prioritize our resources to positively impact Iowa for years to come.” 

The Planned Parenthood book sale began in 1961 with a small but committed group of volunteers, who sold 13,000 books, raising $2,650. The now twice-yearly book sale has grown to be one of the largest single charitable events in the nation to be run by volunteers—which includes more than 500 volunteers a year.  

The final book sale will be hosted in the 4-H Building at the Iowa State Fairgrounds Oct. 12-16, 2023.  


Planned Parenthood North Central States and its subsidiary organizations provide, promote, and protect reproductive and sexual health through high quality care, education and advocacy. A member of America’s most trusted reproductive health care provider, our affiliate is proud to support and operate 28 health centers across our five-state region (Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota).  Each year, we provide health care to nearly 100,000 people and health education to more than 50,000 people in our region.  

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