Planned Parenthood Teen Council counsels Indiana lawmakers on birth control and abortion differences

INDIANAPOLIS — On Monday, February 26, teens from across Indianapolis met with their legislators to advocate for comprehensive and medically accurate sex education.

They also offered to provide a basic breakdown of birth control to Indiana lawmakers after Representative Cindy Ledbetter falsely equated the use of an IUD with abortion and removed the contraceptive method from House Bill 1426.

According to Ledbetter, she did not equate the use of IUDs to abortion. She only referenced concerns made by Indiana Right to Life regarding IUDs that were brought to lawmakers.

To view the full testimony, click here. Also, the article linked to the words “falsely equated” corroborates what she said. Also, she did not personally remove the “contraceptive method from House Bill 1426.”  The Senate Committee on Health and Provider Services supported an amendment that removed this contraceptive method from the bill. Ledbetter does not serve on this committee.

The bill would require hospitals to offer long-acting reversible subdermal contraceptive implants only, not IUDS, to people eligible or currently receiving Medicaid after they give birth. 

Indiana is one of 21 states where sex ed is not currently mandated, outside of instruction on HIV. Schools that teach sex education must emphasize abstinence.

“We don’t know who needs to hear this, but an IUD, which is birth control, prevents pregnancy. An abortion ends it. If Hoosiers had access to comprehensive and medically accurate sex education, some of our lawmakers might know that. Stop the lies and start funding sex-ed,” posted members of the Indianapolis Teen Council.

“We know sex education is essential to young people’s health and that they deserve to have information, resources, and skills to protect their health and build their futures — without shame or judgment. Yet many young people still do not have access to sex education,” said Leslie Montgomery, Education Manager for Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawaiʻi, Alaska, Indiana, and Kentucky (PPGNHAIK). “Our Teen Council members are passionate about all Indiana youth having access to sex education so that they can make healthy and responsible choices. Providing them a firsthand look at how advocacy and the legislative process work in our state gives our youth a better opportunity to hear their stories about how current policies don’t reflect their wishes of today.”

The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) has found that, like abortion coverage, state policies regarding sex education are fragmented. SIECUS reports that Indiana’s emphasis on local control over sex education has resulted in a glaring disparity regarding the quality of sex education that students receive. The report suggests the current practice allows for the implementation of policies and curriculum “that stigmatizes marginalized youth, such as students of color and LGBTQAI+ youth, and presents further challenges in ensuring that low-income districts have access to the resources needed to implement sex education. This can be due to a variety of factors such as crisis pregnancy centers being able to provide free programs and thus more likely to target such students.” A lack of sex education impacts Hoosiers into adulthood. Nearly 49 percent of all pregnancies in Indiana are unintended. 

  • Indiana curriculum is not required to include instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity 
  • No requirement to include instruction on consent
  • Schools must make two attempts to receive written permission from parents or guardians for students to participate in sex education before automatically enrolling students in the instruction. 
  • Indiana has no regulation regarding medically accurate sex education instruction.

Planned Parenthood believes any sex education curriculum taught in Indiana should be comprehensive, medically and scientifically accurate, and age-appropriate. The majority of Hoosiers, 90 percent, agree that age-appropriate, comprehensive sex education should be required in public schools.  Sex education can equip young people with the skills they need for a lifetime of good health, including the ability to make decisions for themselves, ally with different people, and think critically about the world. 

Teen Council is made up of student volunteers from across Indiana. Members come from diverse backgrounds and bring a range of beliefs, viewpoints, and experiences to the group. Teen Council members meet weekly in groups of about a dozen teens with a Planned Parenthood educator to discuss various sexual health and relationship issues.