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Planned Parenthood to Lose Funding for Sex Ed and STD Testing

Andrea Smardon
Students at Salt Lake Center for Science Education may lose a comprehensive sex education program administered by Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood staff say they are expecting thousands of protestors to attend a rally at the Utah Capitol Tuesday, asking Governor Gary Herbert to reconsider his decision to defund the organization.

Last week at his monthly KUED news conference, Governor Gary Herbert said he stands by his decision to withhold funding from Planned Parenthood, and divert it to other service providers.

“We really do care about women’s health, and the idea that women’s health will be shortchanged in this process is not accurate,” Herbert said.  

The programs that would be affected according to the Utah Department of Health are sexually transmitted disease testing and sex education and abstinence programs.

Across town at Salt Lake Center for Science Education in Rose Park, 6th grade teacher Britnie Powell is worried that the comprehensive sex ed course she leads after school will end.

“You have students who are learning information that they won’t necessarily get somewhere else,” Powell says. “I think we’ll see bigger public health issues come out if teen programs like this lose their funding.”

Powell says the program administered by Planned Parenthood with federal funds is an evidence-based approach proven to reduce the risks for school suspension, course failure, and pregnancy.  11th grader Anna Mancera has been in the program for 2 years and she wants it to continue.

“With the information that we’re given, at least we have the chance to protect ourselves,” Mancera says.

Jennifer Daily is Executive Director of the Utah Academy of Family Physicians. She says cutting Planned Parenthood funding will mean a loss of preventive care and education for those who don’t have the means to access it elsewhere. 

“To lose a system that’s working, it will lead to more unwanted pregnancies, and more adolescents and young adults with STD’s, and that’s when things get expensive and heartbreaking,” Dailey says.

Planned Parenthood estimates it will lose $75,000 of STD testing and more than $100,000 for educational programs. The governor has said the money that would have gone to Planned Parenthood will be redirected to 26 health agencies in the state in 49 locations.

A press conference and rally will take place on the south steps of the Utah Capitol Tuesday, August 25th, beginning at 6:00 p.m.

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
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