Update from the General Secretary on Planned Parenthood

Counter the assault on Planned Parenthood

I’m a committed Christian woman who believes that youth age 12, 13 or 17 are too young to be engaged in sexual intercourse of any kind.

 I’m a committed Christian who knows from experience that good pastoring, mentoring and parenting cannot insure that all young people will eschew too-early sexual experiences, nor will many of them avoid the heavy consequences of their behavior, namely sexually transmitted disease or pregnancy.

I am a committed Christian who believes in public funding for Planned Parenthood and other responsible sources of reproductive health, sexual education and birth control.

 The current attack on government funding for Planned Parenthood is yet another attempt by the one of the wealthiest, most privileged, most over-funded, most overly male group in this nation to take away the rights of lower-income and young women in the name of so-called morality. These are the same people who oppose health care reform, while their high-cost health care is being subsidized by the working poor and middle class. And these are the same folks who, when faced with unplanned pregnancies in their own families, have the resources—thanks to my tax dollars paying their salaries—to pay away their troubles.

 Planned Parenthood and other responsible entities actually save taxpayer money, from medical costs of poor prenatal care to special education costs for children born at low birth weights and suffering malnutrition. Birth control from Planned Parenthood saves taxpayers from paying public assistance for teen moms who are less likely to get child support or find employment that pays a living wage. It saves legal costs of pursuing deadbeat dads who had no intention of marrying or making a moral and financial commitment to the mothers or their children. And it saves the moral, physical and financial costs of abortions, which, contrary to current rhetoric, causes life-changing trauma for the women forced to choose them.

 The current assault on Planned Parenthood comes from a society and, sadly, some people of faith, who have abdicated our responsibility to advance honest, confessional dialogue about sexuality and sexism. We don’t want to own that most of us these days are not virgins when we marry, that many teen moms are impregnated by adult men (who should be prosecuted for statutory rape), that we’d rather our children “don’t ask, don’t tell, or don’t get caught,” rather than talking to them about our own sexual histories and offering realistic advice.

 Rather, it is easier for us to continue believing that women who seek birth control or who have abortions are provocative, godless sluts; that “good people” don’t need contraceptives or sexual education, because they have sex only while married and want all the children they can have; that wealthy men in Washington know better than a third-generation teen mom what can break the cycle of poverty and too-early pregnancy for her child.

We, even people of faith, find it more palatable to keep sex talk out of our sanctuaries than to offer our sanctuaries as safe, open place where teens can ask questions about sex and get honest answers from responsible adults. We decry street-corner sexual education, but blanch at the very idea that the pastor or Sunday school teacher might openly ask God to bless and anoint our sexual intercourse so that we deem it precious, pleasurable and responsible.

 I am a committed Christian who knows that the wealthy, formally educated and well-resourced people already have access to the contraception and reproductive health care. As a committed Christian, I want poor women—and men—to have the same rights. And I am willing to commit at my tax dollars to that. People of faith, speak out! Contact your Congressional representatives today!

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