Planned Parenthood Awarded PREP Grant

Diana Anderson and K. William Boyer
Special to Devils Lake Daily Journal

DEVILS LAKE – Effective and reliable sex education will continue in North Dakota. The U.S. Department of HHS has awarded Planned Parenthood North Central States a $250,000 annual grant to implement age-appropriate, evidence-based sex education in North Dakota. The Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) grant period is for 3 years: September 30, 2021, until September 29, 2024.

Anti-abortion activists demonstrate outside the Supreme Court on Oct. 4. Arguments are planned for December challenging Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Supreme Court decisions that guarantee a woman's right to an abortion nationwide.

PREP funding provides education to young people on both abstinence and contraception, with an overall goal to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS. In 2012, North Dakota State University (NDSU) was awarded this grant and began providing programming in North Dakota through a partnership with Planned Parenthood.

“Since implementing PREP in 2012, we have reached more than 19,000 individuals in North Dakota through our educational programs,” says Katie Christensen, Planned Parenthood North Dakota State Director. “We are proud to share that the research conducted by NDSU shows that youth leave our programs with increased parent communication, improved knowledge of local resources including how to access birth control and STI testing, and more confidence in their negotiation and refusal skills. These are all key components to maintaining healthy sexuality now and in the future.”

On May 9, 2021 North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum signed a bill into law that effectively severed Planned Parenthood’s nearly decade long partnership with NDSU.

“There’s no doubt that we were disappointed by the political meddling in our partnership during this past legislative session,” says Katie Christensen. “Although we no longer have a relationship with NDSU, this federal grant allows us to continue providing sex education that is vital to the development, health and wellbeing of North Dakota’s youth.”

Whether you’re ready to start your family soon or in a few years, making a plan now will help you enter parenthood with peace of mind.

Key Facts: Planned Parenthood’s Federal PREP Grant

  • All participants 17 and younger must have parent or guardian permission to attend.
  • All Planned Parenthood education programs in North Dakota are optional.
  • All grant recipients are required to implement an evidence-based curriculum provided by the federal HHS Teen Pregnancy Prevention Evidence Review.
  • Planned Parenthood educators are trained on approved curriculum options Making Proud Choices!, Positive Prevention PLUS, and Sexual Health and Adolescent Risk Prevention (SHARP)

The benefits of comprehensive sex education do not stop at pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease prevention. Decades of research show that effective programs lead to healthier relationships, reduced rates of intimate partner perpetration and violence, improved communication skills, increased media literacy, and overall safer spaces for LGBTQ youth. The most recent CDC School Health Profile reports that only 27% of North Dakota’s schools are covering a full range of sexual health topics.

Katie Christensen says, “We are committed to continuing these programs because we believe that all youth deserve access to information that is medically accurate, comprehensive, and relevant. This education can have a profound impact on the lifelong health of our youth.”