I’d Like To Bare My Testimony. I know Planned Parenthood is True.
Today is Blog Carnival day! Blogs around the nation are stepping up and showing support for Planned Parenthood. I’m so thrilled that I could participate. I am an avid supporter of Planned Parenthood. As a public educator in Utah, I’ve seen how abstinence only lessons can go seriously awry. I have seen teenage pregnancies, young girls of 14 contracting herpes (and thinking they could get rid of it by spraying lemon juice on themselves), I’ve seen shame and guilt. I’ve seen fear of being sexual in any measure (from modesty to masturbation). I’ve seen it. You’ve seen it. And yet, the state of Utah is not allowed to teach anything other than Abstinence Only. But, to me, that’s only half an education at best (and sometimes no education at all). I am not of the belief that teaching your children how to be smart with their sexuality will cause them to go out and have more sex. Being informed is something we owe to every young man and young women.
For your reading pleasure, I have collected a few Abstinence Only lessons I’ve seen over the years and I have compared them with some current information you can find on the Planned Parenthood website.
One popular classroom exercise employs Scotch Tape to demonstrate how premarital sex can make girls dirty. A teacher holds up a clear strip of tape, meant to represent a girl, in front of the class. The teacher then puts the strip of tape, adhesive side down, on the arm of a boy in the class, to symbolize his sexual relationship with the girl. The teacher rips off the tape (signifying the breakup, apparently) and holds it up again for the class to look at. Students are meant to see that the strip of tape—the girl—has picked up all kinds of dirt and hair from the boy’s arm and is no longer clean. Then, when the teacher tries to stick the same strip of tape to another boy’s arm, he or she notes that it doesn’t stick—they can’t bond! To end things with a bang, the abstinence educator makes a remark about the girl’s being “used” and therefore unable to have strong future relationships. (Jessica Valenti, The Purity Myth, 33).
What do you know about sex? What do you know about sexuality? We hear about sex and sexuality almost every day, but much of what we hear is inaccurate and can be confusing. A basic understanding of sex and sexuality can help us sort out myth from fact and help us all enjoy our lives more.
We are all sexual. We are sexual from the day we are born until the day we die. Our sexuality affects who we are and how we express ourselves as sexual beings.
Our sexuality includes
- our bodies, including our sexual and reproductive anatomy
- our biological sex — male, female, or intersex
- our gender — being a girl, boy, woman, man, or transgender
- our gender identities — our comfort with and feelings about our gender
- our sexual orientations — straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual
- our sex drives
- our sexual identity — the way we feel about our sex, gender, and sexual orientation
Your body is a wrapped lollipop. When you have sex with a man, he unwraps your lollipop and sucks on it. It may feel great at the time, but, unfortunately, when he’s done with you, all you have left for your next partner is a poorly wrapped, saliva-fouled sucker.” Darren Washington an abstinence educator at the Eighth Annual Abstinence Clearninghouse Conference. (Valenti, 41).
Some people have basic questions about how pregnancy happens. Some may have questions about avoiding a pregnancy. Others are considering pregnancy and have questions about pre-pregnancy health, or infertility. And some may wonder about options for an unintended pregnancy.
Many women need information about pregnancy tests. Pregnant women may also have questions about prenatal care and the stages of pregnancy. And women who are concerned about pregnancy loss may have lots of questions about miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.
Only you can decide what is best for you when it comes to pregnancy. But we are here to help. A staff member at your local Planned Parenthood health center can talk with you about all of your pregnancy-related concerns. And we can help you get care that you need.
A program in Nevada used its abstinence only state funding to run public radio service ads that said girls will feel “dirty and cheap” after having sex (these were eventually pulled due to public outrage.)
A popular abstinence product is a gold rose pin handed out in schools and at Christian youth events. The pin is attached to small card that reads, “You are like a beautiful rose. Each time you engage in pre-martial sex, a precious petal is stripped away. Don’t leave your future husband holding a bare stem. Abstain.” Again, I’m not an advocate for teenage sex, but do we really want to keep teaching our daughters that without their virginity, they’re nothing but a “bare stem”? And more than this, the consequences that are told to the young girls: that they will be dirty, tainted, damaged goods, or bare stems–none of these things relates to the girls’ inner sense of self, but are mainly words used to describe how MEN will view and treat women who have been sexual.
Planned Parenthood has provided so many resources to many women in my life. I grew up in a home of five girls, and three of us have gotten most of what we know about our own sexuality, how to protect ourselves, and how to be smart about when we choose to have sex from resources given by Planned Parenthood. It’s changed my life. It’s made my life so much better. I have a testimony of Planned Parenthood. I have a testimony of condoms and safe sex, I know that many of our teenagers are going to have pre-marital sex without a shadow of a doubt. I know that better than giving kids up for adoption or getting rid of an unwanted pregnancy is a valuable education to begin with about having safe sex. I know with every fiber of my being that sex can be safe if we are informed. Our kids deserve it. Our kids deserve to know the realities of sex and how to avoid STDs, pregnancies, and other issues. Our kids deserve more than abstinence only education.
Please share your testimony of Planned Parenthood with us.