Saturday, August 23, 2008

Criticism of Planned Parenthood Videos

The Worldnutdaily has an article with a misleading headline: "Planned Parenthood promotes casual sex to kids on website." The article is misleading for two reasons: 1) the article says nothing to substantiate the claim made by the headline and 2) their claim is wrong.

The videos on the Planned Parenthood website include (this description is from the wnd article):

A review of the promotional videos created by Planned Parenthood show the following scenarios:

* A girl who appears only from the waist up appears to drop her slacks to the floor, then asks a second girl, a third girl, and a boy, "Do you see anything down there?" The counselor advises her to get a test for STDs.

* Two girls, a guy and the counselor talk about what HPV means. The teens' guess is a reference to a sex organ.

* A white youth appears only from the waist up, then a black youth suddenly stands up in front of him, and the white youth says, "I didn't spew."

* A girl says, "I like me. I like spending time with me. It's not like I can get me pregnant or give me diseases."

* The theme song gives the message, "Whatever you call it, you've got to know how to take care of it."

The videos (click here or above on Planned Parenthood to see them) feature several young people -- girls in pink t-shirts, boys in white t-shirts, and an adult adviser -- talking about sexual health issues, talking about sex, or maybe having sex. In most videos, the kids are either talking about an issue of sexual health or are having sex and then are interrupted by the adviser who provides information.

One video singled out for criticism is this one, "I didn't spew." One boy is performing oral sex on another while the adviser walks by. He sees what's going on and asks the kid received the blow job, "where's your prophylactic?" The kid thinks he doesn't need one because "I didn't spew." The adviser contradicts this mistaken view, pointing out that any sexual contact -- even oral sex, even without an orgasm -- can lead to the transmission of STDs. The video does not promote oral sex; it shows it happening (apparently it's on the rise with teenagers, though it may be the media talking about it more) and points out that it is not safe sex.

This website also criticizes the videos, first noting below its headline

WARNING: This item contains shocking and graphic content funded by your tax dollars.

They complain:

On its new website,, the group posts a series of videos so revolting that members of my staff were visibly shaken

and conclude

This site is nothing more than an online playground for the prurient. The screen promises “the ins and outs about the ins and outs,” but the material is highly inappropriate for adults, let alone young children.

There are no graphic images, no nudity, not even the presentation of primary or secondary sexual organs -- just kids in t-shirts and an adult adviser in a shirt, tie, and cardigan sweater talking about sex and sexually-related issues.

To find the videos "so revolting that members of my staff were visibly shaken," I have to ask, is your staff made up of total prudes? I'm appalled that people find it offensive to point out that oral sex is not safe sex or that HPV is an STD (one video features precisely that topic).

I wonder how these people dealt with the news about Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky.

Anyway, the wnd article has a couple other off-the-wall complaints that have nothing to do with the videos.


The Texas-based pro-life group Life Dynamics previously conducted an extensive undercover project in which an adult volunteer posing as a 13-year-old called every Planned Parenthood clinic in the U.S., saying she was pregnant by a 22-year-old boyfriend. Almost without exception, the clinics advised her to obtain an abortion without her parents' knowledge and told her how to protect her boyfriend, who would be guilty in any state of statutory rape.

This claim has nothing to do with the videos. It seems a legitimate criticism of the organization, but I tend to agree with their attempts to secure an abortion for this person without parental notification and withholding information about her boyfriend.

The second claim is ridiculous:

Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger supported eugenics through birth control to cull people she considered unfit from the population. In 1921, she said eugenics is "the most adequate and thorough avenue to the solution of racial, political and social problems."

What the found did and supported has no logical connection with what Planned Parenthood does today. If there is a connection, it needs to be supported by evidence -- evidence that is not provided here (not a surprise).

I noted at the beginning that their claim was wrong: studies indicate that abstinence only programs fail on a number of levels. Open discussion of sex does not promote sex according to studies of comprehensive sexual education programs -- it promotes safe sex.

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