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Planned Parenthood blamed for encouraging teen sex activity

WASHINGTON (BP)–A report published by the research affiliate of Planned Parenthood, suggesting a more liberal definition for abstinence and calling for the collection of more data on teen sexual activity, is a thinly-veiled, long-range business plan for selling contraceptives, according to CNSNews.com.

The Alan Guttmacher Institute published the report in a November/December newsletter.

“Given the amount of federal and state money going into abstinence education, the lack of a consensus on whether and how to specify the behaviors to be abstained from, warrants close examination,” wrote the report’s author, Lisa Remez.

Conservative groups see the report as an attempt to change the definition of abstinence and are urging the Republican Congress and President-elect George W. Bush to restrict federal spending on programs that benefit groups like Planned Parenthood.

“A lot of [members of Congress] need to understand when these programs come up for funding, it includes things like what this [abstinence] study is trying to say, that even oral sex is considered abstinence. Congress needs to understand what it’s voting on,” said Wendy Wright, communications director for Concerned Women for America.

Ed Szymkowiak, national director for the American Life League’s STOPP International division, said the real motive of Planned Parenthood is to make money.

“If you look at their basic game plan, birth control makes them the most money,” said Szymkowiak.

“As women grow out of the childbearing age period, they’re not going to use birth control. In order to have that customer base grow or sustain itself, they have to have some source of new customers. Where do you turn for these new customers? You want people who are going to be sexually active. You look to the kids,” said Szymkowiak, who noted that Planned Parenthood reported $627.2 million in revenue from domestic sources for fiscal year 1999-2000. More than $187 million of that total came from government grants and contracts, he said.

“If you can start getting the kids interested in … sex and becoming sexually active, in whatever way you can, [Planned Parenthood] knows if they can just break down that natural barrier of natural innocence and chastity that young kids have, that they can profit from that in the long run because they’ll start buying their birth control products,” said Szymkowiak.

The Guttmacher report, entitled “Oral Sex Among Adolescents — Is It Abstinence or Is It Sex?” examines how teenagers define abstinence and how extensively teens engage in oral sex. The report acknowledges a lack of reliable data on the subject, calls for more examination of the subject, and warns that existing sex education and abstinence programs are hampered by the lack of this data.

Both Szymkowiak and Wright say Planned Parenthood is also trying to redefine language to fit its long-term agenda and drum up public support.

“When abstinence programs first became known in the early 1990s, Planned Parenthood fought tooth and nail against [them],” even filing lawsuits against school districts, Wright said. That’s because Planned Parenthood’s programs, “do not promote abstinence and they can’t make any money off it and get into school districts with their curriculum if the school districts rely solely on abstinence programs,” Wright explained.

“What ended up happening is abstinence has been wildly popular as a curriculum … so Planned Parenthood has changed the definition so that abstinence is no longer abstinence until marriage but until you feel like having sex,” Wright said.

Szymkowiak said Planned Parenthood could gain tens of millions of dollars more in federal funding if it won grants to participate in abstinence programs, but looks forward to a decision Bush will be asked to make before February 15, 2001.

“One of the main things we’re looking at President-elect Bush to do in his first few days in office is to reinstate the Mexico City policy” which prevented U.S. taxpayer funding of organizations that promoted or performed abortions overseas, said Szymkowiak.

“Clinton rescinded it the second day he was in office and authorized abortions in military installations. That’s under the President’s administrative powers. [Bush] has to do it before February 15, because the international family planning monies allocated and approved in October can be given to an organization like Planned Parenthood,” he said.

Wright expressed confidence that Bush would see a need to promote abstinence programs instead of Planned Parenthood’s agenda, but said Congress will need to be educated in order to de-fund the group.

“It’s going to take a lot of effort on the part of pro-family groups to expose what’s really going on,” Wright predicted. But “George W. Bush was a big promoter of abstinence programs in Texas.

“On December 15, the Republican-controlled Congress, that just went through the election, where Planned Parenthood sunk $7 million into [Democratic campaigns] … upped title 10 funding by $15 million. Since Planned Parenthood gets 20 percent, that means that next year Planned Parenthood will get an increase of $3 million from Title 10, putting their total Title 10 take at over $50 million for domestic family planning,” Wright said.

Spokespersons for Planned Parenthood and its research division, the Alan Guttmacher Institute, declined to comment on this story, citing busy schedules and staff vacations.
Hall is a staff writer with CNSnews.com. Used by permission.

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  • Christine Hall