The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) promotes an organization on its website that is closely aligned with Planned Parenthood and chaired by a former medical director for the abortion giant.
Advocates for Youth was created in 1980 and works closely with Planned Parenthood to “promote effective adolescent reproductive and sexual health programs and policies.” Its “director of sexuality education and training” previously worked as a “community educator” for Planned Parenthood.
In 2018, the organization partnered with the Planned Parenthood Action Fund to “protest against [Brett] Kavanaugh’s nomination” to the Supreme Court.
The “facilitation of fetal tissue donation by some Planned Parenthood centers should be applauded for its contribution to the advancement of human science,” Advocates for Youth President Debra Hauser once said. She also claimed that abortion access is essential to the “safety and freedom [of] marginalized communities.”
Advocates for Youth recently came under fire in Minnesota for its educational program called “3Rs,” which stands for “rights, respect, responsibility.” The curriculum is used in Richfield Public Schools (RPS) and asks students to role-play gay sex scenarios. The curriculum also introduces transgenderism to children beginning in kindergarten.
“We only use a few select lessons from this program — not the entire curriculum,” RPS responded in an unsigned statement. The district also claimed that it uses a program called “Positive Prevention PLUS” at the high-school level, not 3Rs. However, a mother who asked to review the district’s sex-ed curriculum said that only the 3Rs program was offered for parental review and was told that it is “used in all their schools.”
“Either they lied to me then or they are lying now, or they have made a sudden change to their curriculum,” she said.
Advocates for Youth has also rebranded abstinence-only education as “sexual risk avoidance” programs, arguing that these programs “praise heteronormativity and normalize homophobia” while perpetuating “harmful gender roles.”
The Minnesota Department of Health directs parents and professionals to Advocates for Youth because the group helps “young people make informed and responsible decisions.” MDH also refers parents to organizations like Power to Decide, which advocates for “abortion care for all,” and the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S., an organization founded by yet another former medical director at Planned Parenthood.
Megan Olson is a 2020 graduate of the University of Minnesota with degrees in political science and history. She works in public affairs in addition to serving on the Legislative Advisory Council for School District 196. She is also on the school board for FIT academy, a charter school in Apple Valley.