Sexual education, reproductive choice and abortion access are matters of public health. I recently petitioned my representative, Susan Akland, R-District 19A, to support the Protect Reproductive Operations Act co-authored by her DFL colleagues in the Legislature.

This act would protect individuals’ right to make their own reproductive decisions and protect their access to abortion services. Akland’s office responded with a canned statement that while she appreciated my input, she will “defend life.”

Setting aside the fact that the lives of pregnant people do not matter to Akland, she also contradicted her “defend life” stance Feb. 24 when she refused to support comprehensive sex education in elementary and secondary public and charter schools. She proposed an amendment that would allow parents to opt their children out of sex education with no academic penalty and/or allow parents to sit in the classroom while professional educators teach sexual health education.

Akland wants to undermine educators and censor this essential knowledge under the guise of giving parents “more control” that actually translates to more legislators’ power over Minnesotans’ sexual health and individual choices. That’s a pretty ironic stance for a modern conservative.

More importantly, she would deny our children the chance to get medically-accurate information and would put them at greater risk of STIs, unwanted pregnancies, and harmful relationships — when endless evidence proves that solid sex education decreases the likelihood of all three problems.

Akland’s amendment is a blatant attempt to thwart essential sexual health education that protects life — specifically the lives of children who are outside of a womb. Akland wants to police sex and pregnancy, and risk kids’ lives — that is not “defending life.” District 19-A deserves better.

Misti Harper

St. Peter

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