During this legislative session, Planned Parenthood has come under attack, with some opponents claiming that Planned Parenthood harms both youth and their parents. As an ordained minister and licensed therapist, I could not be more grateful for the crucial service Planned Parenthood provides in North Dakota.

Honest, accurate information about sexuality is key to healthy development for youth. Planned Parenthood programming helps to dismantle stereotypes, foster healthy relationships, and empower people of all ages to make informed decisions about our bodies.

That is why I’ve turned to Planned Parenthood to provide workshops for my congregants, including youth and their parents, time and time again. I encourage all parents, grandparents, and others who care about youth to learn more about what Planned Parenthood is really about – and to take one of the free classes offered throughout the year.

Youth, parents, and families are given a safe space to have relevant conversations, ask important questions, clarify values, and gain knowledge about bodies, behaviors, and human emotions. When youth know we are safe adults to confide in, we can do a better job of keeping them safe and possibly even help to save their lives.

Rev. Karen VanFossan is the minister at Fargo-Moorhead Unitarian Universalist Church

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