Planned Parenthood and Pregnancies

Planned Parenthood is an organization that prides itself on helping to provide medically accurate sexual training in communities across the United States. I recently came across an article by Jennifer Roback Morse that dissected why the program should no longer be funded as heavily by the Federal government because the program simply doesn’t work.

Here is what Planned Parenthood believes:

Planned Parenthood believes that everyone has the right to choose when or whether to have a child, that every child should be wanted and loved, and that women should be in charge of their destinies.

Planned Parenthood has the belief that people will have sex (no matter what age), so why not equip the person with the knowledge and the tools to undertake the task? According to the mentioned article, the poor cohabiting teenager using the Pill has a 48% change of becoming pregnant. Morse argues that if more money is spent on abstinence instead of contraceptive-related programs, then perhaps less pregnancies will occur since abstinence is a surefire way to not become pregnant.

One thing I don’t particularly like about contraceptive-type programs is that they assume kids will have sex, which I know many parents are against having sex taught in schools (especially religious parents). Morse argues that it’s like assuming kids are going to smoke, so why not teach the kids how not to contract some lung disease when smoking?

I still am a fan of sex until after marriage. I waited, and unfortunately things didn’t work out, but I am just one case.

I’m stuck on the subject of allowing kids to be educated regarding sex in schools, but I am truly against an organization that gives kids the tools to “safely” have sex, provides the means to fix kids’ mistakes (with abortions), and then claims that “every child should be wanted.” Does Planned Parenthood tell the child it should be wanted before or after it is aborted?

4 Comments

  1. I like the analogy that opens the article.

    Technically, Planned Parenthood isn't lying, just using statistics selectively. Putting it into context (using these statistics to justify gov't spending for their program) and it is misleading. They are withholding pertinent information. Makes me think of the quotation, "Liars, **** liars, and statisticians".

    Arguing that "they are going to do it anyway" is purely a cop out. Nice analogy, Ronalfy.

    It's worth repeating: Abstinence is the only method that is 100% effective against getting pregnant.

    cetroyer

  2. Hi Ronald,

    I came across your site through Devlounge.

    It is undisputed by comprehensive sexuality education proponents (of which I am one) that abstinence is the only 100 percent effective method of preventing pregnancy.

    What I think you misrepresent is the notion that CSE groups such as Planned Parenthood “assume” that young people will have sex. We don’t “assume” anything. What we do propose is looking at what will effectively empower young people to be healthy and informed, in regards to their sexuality as much as other aspects of their lives. And, given the breadth of cultural, socio-economic and religious backgrounds in this country, I believe it a civic responsibility for us to provide youth with as much information as possible.

    The analogy of teaching CSE to teens versus preventing lung cancer by smoking is fallacious. It’s akin to arguing that umbrellas cause rain or that seatbelts cause accidents. As anybody who has gone through puberty knows, the sexual drive is an entirely natural human drive. CSE, as I received it in my public high school in Maryland, tells youth that yes, abstinence is the only completely effective method of preventing pregnancy. But it also acknowledges, rather than ignores, the fact that some young people will engage in sexual activity. In so doing, and this is what I believe to be essential, it empowers young people to make decisions about their life, far more than teaching abstinence only or ingnoring sex ed altogether will do.

    Each year, U.S. teens experience as many as 850,000 pregnancies, and youth under age 25 experience about 9.1 million sexually transmitted infections (STIs). By age 18, 70 percent of U.S. females and 62 percent of U.S. males have initiated vaginal sex. There is no empirical evidence (that I’ve yet to come across) that Abstinence only until marriage programs actually work. On the contrary, the last several years of Bush administration policies have seen teen pregnancy and STI rates increase. On the other hand, CSE has been proven to effectively reduce these rates.

    Part of the issue with the current divisiveness of our country’s ‘culture war’ divide is that it strips away so much of the common ground ‘liberals’ and ‘conservatives’ share. I respect your decision and preference for abstinence until marriage, and share your concerns regarding young people in this country and outside it. What I see though, is that scientific evidence shows that young people are more likely to take measures to protect themselves if fully informed on methods of preventing STIs and pregnancy, outside of only teaching abstinence. At a moral level, I find it unconscionable to keep us in the dark when over half of new HIV infections are between the ages of 15 and 24. (I am 23; youth technically defined by the UN is 15-24) From a public health perspective, it’s essentially a matter of placing science ahead of personal beliefs and ideology.

    In case you are interested, I got the stats from this page:
    http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/publications/factsheet/fssexcur.htm

    FD: I’ve also worked on sexual and reproductive health at an international and domestic level with Advocates for Youth.

  3. Hey Mark,

    Thanks for the in-depth comment. I have to disagree that the analogy is fallacious. Sex can cause pregnancies and potentially spread STDs. Smoking can potentially cause lung cancer. Having sex is a choice. Taking up smoking is a choice. Getting pregnant or spreading STDs is a side effect of having sex. Getting lung cancer is a side effect of smoking.

    Now if you’re saying, “If you’re going to have sex, protect yourself.”, it’s like saying, “Here’s how to minimize these side effects of having sex.” The smoking analogy would be, “If you’re going to smoke, here’s how to minimize these side effects.” I don’t think there’s anything fallacious about it.

    The rest of your data I can’t argue against since I am no expert, but I appreciate the stats you brought up.

  4. I still am a fan of sex until after marriage. I waited. I believe you meant you are NOT a fan of sex.

    That being said I think you wrote a great post here. I am on your side regarding some of your points. In particular I think schools should educate not promote sex, and by handing out contraceptives they are promoting it.

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