Alaskan legislators are discussing a public school sex education bill in Juneau that will impact Alaskan youths. SB 89 is polarizing, but as with any debate on such an issue, facts are obscured and passionate rhetoric prevails. With accuracy and intellectual honesty let's get the facts straight.
SB 89 prohibits abortion services providers from teaching on human sexuality or sexually transmitted diseases in publicly funded schools. Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the U.S. and is currently providing sex education to some public schools in Alaska.
Planned Parenthood has a vested interest in promoting its product. The Washington Star Times reported on May 3, 1973, that Dr. Alan Guttmacher, former president of Planned Parenthood, made a statement immediately following the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that created a sacred right to abortion: "Then how can the Supreme Court Decision be absolutely secured? The answer to winning the battle for elective abortion once and for all is sex education." And they've been in our public schools ever since.
A relevant, though dated reference to this issue is Carol Everett's "Blood Money." The early '70's events that Everett, a former abortion marketer, wrote about occurred just down the road from Austin, Texas, where the Roe v. Wade case took place. Everett describes how her strategy was to mask intentionally careless teaching about contraception in a gratuitous encouragement of sexual behavior so that the teens would incorrectly use contraceptives, thus getting pregnant and being steered to the abortion clinic to fulfill her quota. She even produced and distributed coupons for abortions! There is no clearer picture of how abortion has been marketed to teens.
Even if Planned Parenthood instructors genuinely want students to avoid pregnancy, their employer benefits financially when their "comprehensive" sex-ed fails and teens end up on an abortion table or swallowing an RU-486 abortifacient. That is as much as a conflict of interest as a future marijuana retailer teaching a bunch of seventh-graders to "just say no to drugs." If the message doesn't stick, don't worry -- we have you covered around the corner.
The promotion of condoms may sound reasonable for a teen who follows his or her urges, but consider what the website teenhelp.com offers: "... despite the data on condom effectiveness ..., condom use among sexually active teens is often not a priority. The Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that 56 percent of teens, both males and females, agreed with the statement, 'Having sex without a condom every now and then is not that big of a deal.'"
So why are social conservatives so against abortion being marketed to their children? The glaring conflict of interest is not the real problem. A conflict of interest has to do with financial propriety. This goes much deeper -- and is an exquisitely personal matter that can impact the emotional and physical health of a woman -- a child -- who chooses abortion. The physical and emotional effects of abortion are a topic too broad to fully describe here; a comprehensive listing can be found in AbortionFacts.com. Abortion has potential for lifelong damage. If the provider is educating, the provider is marketing.
So what could be a source of education on healthy sexual choices? Consider the "Step Up Now to Healthy Relationships" program currently being provided to Fairbanks North Star Borough schools by Care Net Pregnancy Center of the Tanana Valley at no cost. Started with a Federal Community Based Abstinence Education grant in 2008, Step Up Now is currently reaching all but one school in Fairbanks with the message of healthy sexual choices, especially that of postponing sexual activity until marriage.
Neither youth surveys nor local statistics are available to document effectiveness, but a statewide stat from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey of 2015 could very likely be attributed to the program: the percentage of 15- to 17-year-olds in the state who are not currently having sex increased from 65 percent to 75 percent between 2013 and 2015.
The Step Up Now program was recently adopted by the newly formed statewide coalition of pregnancy centers. As SB 89 does include the opt-in requirement, the respective nonprofit pregnancy centers will face the challenge of developing strategies to convince parents to "opt in" their children to the classes.
Abortion providers as instructors have failed our youths and profited from our acquiescence. To prevent the marketing of abortion to our youth by abortion providers, and given the availability of a quality alternative, Alaska should now say to Planned Parenthood, "No thanks. We've got this covered." Please support SB 89 by contacting your state legislator.
Jim Minnery is president of Alaska Family Action. Nancy Bienvenue is the former director of the Care Net Pregnancy Center of the Tanana Valley and is a board member of the Alaska Family Council.
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