Parents Take Battle With Planned Parenthood to Next Level
Outrage grows against organization's sex instruction in schools.
Growing involvement in public schools on the part of Planned Parenthood has led to mounting grassroots opposition against the organization’s comprehensive sex education targeting K-12 students in public schools.
“We’re seeing more and more concerned citizens going to their school boards and elected officials demanding that Planned Parenthood-type curriculum be dumped,” said Rita Diller, national director of American Life League’s Stop Planned Parenthood Project (STOPP). Diller monitors grassroots efforts for the pro-life organization.
Parents in Onalaska, Wash., for instance, expressed outrage June 12 during a Fox News broadcast. They said their children were quiet, withdrawn and embarrassed to talk about what had happened in school the day before. When Curtis and Jean Pannkuk began questioning their 11-year-old daughter, they discovered that the principal had given the fifth-graders instruction on oral and anal sex.
“Our daughter didn’t want to go back to school. She cried all the way to school today,” said Curtis Pannkuk.
James Gilliland was enraged that his daughter’s innocence was stripped from her. His wife, Kadra, said, “I was shocked because I trusted my little country school. I trusted my school — that’s the bottom line, and they crossed the line.”
“It’s just the same as raping somebody, but you’re raping their innocence, instead of their physical being,” said Gilliland. “This curriculum has to go.”
The instruction was part of state-approved comprehensive sex education developed and pushed by Planned Parenthood, NARAL, Pro-Choice Washington, the Sexuality Education and Information Council of the United States (SIECUS), and a host of other organizations.
The graphic sex-ed incident at Onalaska is neither isolated nor new. Planned Parenthood and cohorts have been giving comprehensive sex-education instruction in the public schools since the 1970s.
John Pisciotta, a parent from Waco, Texas, who combats Planned Parenthood’s public-school agenda via his website ProLifeWaco.com, noted: “The label that PP gives to its ‘just do it’ approach to teen and pre-teen sex is ‘comprehensive sex education.’”
Besides various Planned Parenthood programs now being taught in thousands of U.S. schools, Planned Parenthood’s contraceptive-based sex-ed program has been adopted by the National Assembly of School-Based Health Care. The assembly has a membership of 2,000 school-based health centers, initially called “school-based clinics,” nationwide.
“We’re seeing a shift in public awareness and action. There’s increased outrage and a sense of urgency,” said Jim Sedlak, vice president of American Life League and author of Parent Power, a book about how to get Planned Parenthood out of the schools.
The shift has in part been fueled by the American Life League-produced Hooking Kids on Sex video report, which contains graphic footage of Planned Parenthood-style instruction in the schools.
Since its release in January, the report has had 700,000-plus viewings on multiple websites, including YouTube. Sedlak said that the overwhelming response to the exposé has been that of “outrage.”
“Now, a significant number of people are finally paying attention. It’s always like pulling teeth to get parents to look at something extremely offensive, yet this is what their children see in schools,” Sedlak said.
The sense of urgency comes from the fact that the Obama administration’s federal budget initially zeroed out all funding for abstinence-based programs and allocated more than $200 million of taxpayer money to implement K-12 comprehensive sex ed across the nation. Congress then voted to allocate a tiny fraction of the budget to abstinence programs.
“The ratio is 16-1 between CSE (comprehensive sex ed) and abstinence. The Obama administration has been pushing for comprehensive sex education with great tenacity,” said Valerie Huber, executive director of the National Abstinence Education Association. (The association has just released a groundbreaking report, “Sexual Risk Avoidance Education: Considerations for Protecting Teen Health,” which challenges the content, research and funding of CSE’s risk-reduction approach.)
Obamacare and Sex Ed
According to the Guttmacher Institute, a former division of Planned Parenthood, the Affordable Care Act includes “many billions of dollars in new funding for community health centers, which provide family-planning services and other basic reproductive health care to their clients, and establishes a dedicated $50-million yearly funding stream for school-based health centers, many of which provide contraceptive care to students in need.”
Recently, an article about parent Douglas Muravez of Salem, Ore., being in the thick of the battle against Planned Parenthood instruction at his child’s school was published in the Salem Statesman Journal. After learning that Planned Parenthood had signed a contract with North Salem High School and was already teaching its program at the school, Muravez sent several letters to the school board expressing his concern about hiring the nation’s largest abortion provider to teach the class.
Muravez also requested a formal hearing with the school board. His request was denied. Muravez then distributed letters to fellow parishioners at St. Joseph Catholic Church seeking help to “to save North Salem High School from Planned Parenthood.” About two dozen community members pushed for a hearing, but only three out of four required board members agreed to a hearing.
While the school superintendent promised to put a teacher at the helm next year to address Muravez’s concern, the school plans to retain Planned Parenthood’s Teen Outreach Program.
School officials, including Salem-Keizer School District Superintendent Sandy Husk, stand behind the Teen Outreach Program, despite moving to replace the Planned Parenthood instructors.
“We feel strongly that this program, which was based on curriculum developed at the national level that aligns with standards set by the Oregon Department of Education, is an excellent option for our students,” Husk wrote in a letter to parents.
Liz Delapoer of the Planned Parenthood office overseeing the contract with the school district said that the program focuses on healthy relationships, decision-making and goal setting and includes a community service project.
But Corinne Kelly, who went through Planned Parenthood’s curriculum at her alma mater, Ray High School in Corpus Christi, Texas, testified before city officials about the curriculum in 2008.
“I chose non-honors biology because I had just never had the stomach to dissect frogs and other little critters,” said the 2010 graduate of Ray High School. “Little did I know I would have to stomach much more than that. A representative from Planned Parenthood was introduced, and soon she was visiting the regular biology classes every month.
“There, I would squeamishly sit in my seat through the representative’s lectures about rape, ovulation, birth control, how to put on a condom and spermicide. It was embarrassing because I had to sit there with all the girls and guys in the classroom. I was told it was okay to have ‘safe sex’ — that it was perfectly normal to do so; that I was responsible enough to make my own decisions, and, in case I ever slipped up, they would be there to help.”
“I got the sense that they were somewhat expecting me to fail — that it was impossible to remain celibate for four years in a public high school with raging teenage hormones,” she said. “Well, I am happy to say that it is my third year of high school, and, recently, I have been able to help begin an abstinence club. … Why I am here today is because I did not want to witness any more of my friends hurt by a bad decision encouraged by Planned Parenthood.”
For parent Kristie Rutledge of Rockport, Texas, the wake-up call came when Planned Parenthood outreach staff tried to recruit her daughter to become a youth advocate for its program.
After examining Planned Parenthood’s instructional materials and investigating its local operations, Rutledge saw that Planned Parenthood’s bottom line in the schools was “to encourage sexual promiscuity among students in order to increase sales of contraceptives to young children and, ultimately, to push abortions on vulnerable girls.”
“Planned Parenthood’s curriculum and outreach programs look good on paper, but they are really just an outline designed to engage students in highly provocative, open discussions giving PP staff many opportunities to impart their sexual ideology upon our children,” Rutledge said.
Last year, Rutledge, along with local pro-life groups and pregnancy centers, protested Planned Parenthood’s curriculum. She told the school board, “The curriculum completely contradicts district and state policy by undermining abstinence and promoting sexual promiscuity with the instructions for students ‘to decide for themselves what abstinence means’ and what ‘having sex’ means.”
Rutledge utilized resources from pro-life and abstinence-based organizations, including the American Life League and the National Abstinence Education Association, and relied on STOPP’s “Plan for Defeating Planned Parenthood.” She helped develop a network of concerned citizens that collected information on Planned Parenthood’s teen programs through student testimony, public information requests and Internet research.
The ALL affiliate group South Texas STOPP also researched and distributed information on the individual and societal hazards of comprehensive sex education. (See “A Psychoanalytic Look at Today’s Sex Education” by Melvin Anchell, M.D., author of books on the subject, including What’s Wrong With Sex Education and Killers of Children.)
South Texas STOPP gathered more than 5,000 signatures on a petition opposing Planned Parenthood’s educational materials and public funding of their programs. A letter-writing campaign yielded dozens of letters to the editor, while hundreds of concerned citizens attended city council, county hospital district and school board meetings demanding Planned Parenthood’s programs targeting teens be dropped.
Rutledge stated, “The casual sex, hook-up culture that is promoted in comprehensive sex-education programs in our schools drives a wedge between parents and their children and is leading to the destruction of families and society at large. Parents have the duty to be the primary educators of their children, not Planned Parenthood. This is our battle.”
Register correspondent Jo Garcia-Cobb writes from Mt. Angel, Oregon.