Schools have assumed an outsized role in sex education in the past 50 years. Today, schools propagandize on behalf of transing kids, kinky sex, and coming out as gay. But this isn’t a problem just in leftist enclaves — schools in red states are promoting the same propaganda as schools in blue states. How can this be happening, even in supposedly conservative jurisdictions?
Planned Parenthood, as we show in our new report from the Claremont Institute, carefully controls and coordinates the entire policymaking process to promote its goal of sexual revolution. In Congress, it seeks riders and findings to make the funding of abstinence-only sex education more difficult; it has spearheaded the effort to favor programs that reduce sexual risk as opposed to avoiding sexual risk.
This process results from concerted action at the highest levels of government, led by an iron triangle of activist pressure groups, legislative allies, and aligned administrative activists. Planned Parenthood is grooming children to be the vanguard of sexual perversity and degeneracy in a new, sexually liberated America.
Not only does the influence of Planned Parenthood spearhead the sexual revolution in America’s schools and beyond, but its activity also illustrates how Big Government funds and supports leftist political activity more generally. The left depends on funneling national tax dollars toward its favored causes — and conservatives have all but abandoned the field to such efforts.
Congress has established at least four funding streams for sex education. Both the Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) and Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) initiatives are competitive grant programs left over from the Obama era. Two Sexual Risk Avoidance Education (SRAE) programs, passed in the Trump administration, were originally designed to emphasize abstinence-only-until-marriage education. These four programs, housed within Health and Human Services, cumulatively dispensed $228 million through 243 grants between 2020 and 2023.
Planned Parenthood and its affiliates dominate the grant process. According to our study of award winners, nearly $167 million, comprising 80 percent of HHS sex education funding, went to grantees partnering with Planned Parenthood. Seventy-nine percent of successful programs used Planned Parenthood-endorsed curricula. Planned Parenthood and its affiliates won 86 percent of TPP funds, 90 percent of PREP funds, and about three-quarters of SRAE funds.
Planned Parenthood’s main work comes from carefully priming and directing the grantmaking process within the administrative state. First, Planned Parenthood and its affiliates developed National Sexuality Education Standards (NSES) and, in conjunction with the CDC, they developed the Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT). The NSES and HECAT are leading edges of the sexual revolution.
The second edition of NSES, published in 2020, requires teaching gender identity to kindergarteners and puberty blockers to third graders. NSES also requires teaching about abstinence — but it is the new abstinence, which allows for vaginal sex in the backseat of the car so long as one uses a condom. Almost half of America’s school districts have adopted Planned Parenthood’s sex education standards as curricula.
Planned Parenthood and affiliates then design curricula to satisfy their own NSES and HECAT standards. In fact, there is a ratchet built into the grant programs so that ever more radical curricula can be developed. Twenty-five percent of TPP funding must go to the development of new sex education products — so that the leading edge of the sexual revolution can be inched forward with monies from the federal government. One such innovative program is a $1.5 million grant to the Center for Innovative Public Health Research, which developed Girl2Girl, an education program for “girls who are into girls.” Today’s innovative programs are tomorrow’s staples like Making Proud Choices! or Reducing the Risk, each used in hundreds of school districts around the country.
Grantees must also select from curricula deemed “medically accurate” by HHS. Planned Parenthood has mastered the art of having curriculum designated “medically accurate” through TPP Evidence Review. Of more than 600 studies evaluated under TPP Evidence Review, only 24 of them were approved for use in schools, and Planned Parenthood endorsed or created 17 of them.
All of this is possible because the granting agencies within HHS are staffed with left-wing political activists who bend the administration of programs to like-minded groups. HHS itself has a department-wide commitment to leftist sexual ideology in its Equity Action Plan. In the context of sex education, this means pursuing “equity” between gays and non-gays or transgender-identifying people so that groups supposedly on the outs in American society have a chance to become grant recipients.
Thus the iron triangle is complete: Congress appropriates and issues friendly amendments; bureaucrats direct a process that favors aligned interest groups like Planned Parenthood; Planned Parenthood receives grants, develops curriculum, sells other curricula, and shapes the standards by which grants are evaluated. Breaking into this process is not easy for groups that do not already share the values and goals of the movement.
Only Congress can break up this iron triangle of radicalism. The public is wondering how we are losing children to these degenerate ideologies. The answer is not simple, but part of the solution is easy to identify: Defund national sex education programs and refuse to teach them at the state level.