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Monday, August 30, 2004

Girl Scouts, Planned Parenthood and Sex Ed: A Year Later

June 22, 2004: “The Great Plains [Girl Scouts of America] Council (Omaha, Nebraska) has named Beverly Todd Nolte as its new executive director. Nolte is the former vice president of marketing at Planned Parenthood of Nebraska and Council Bluffs...”

July 17, 2004: “Planned Parenthood held a conference for children [again in Waco, Texas], without their parents, that included distribution of a book deemed pornography by critics.

“Children in grades seven through nine received a free copy of the book, ‘It's Perfectly Normal.’ The controversial sex-ed primer contains detailed explanations on how to perform sexual acts and masturbation, accompanied by sexually explicit line drawings...”
John Pisciotta, a Baylor University economics professor, learned of Waco’s Bluebonnet Council of the Girl Scouts’ co-sponsorship of last July’s “Nobody's Fool” conference, and led a successful boycott of the cookie sales this past February.

Apparently, PPFA has been holding this conference every July, with no parental attendance allowed, since 1990.

A website promoting the event said, “[It’s] for youth entering grades five through nine.” This one says, “The book, marketed for children 10 and up, even explains how to have an orgasm” and it also lists “...the top nine reasons to have an abortion, including: 1) If the parents didn't have enough time or money to take ‘good care’ of a baby. 2) If the parents felt too young to be parents. 3) Or, if the girl or woman simply didn't want to become pregnant.” (what about allowing adoption? How about even mentioning it??)

Grades 5 through 9, and until this year in Waco, TX, co-sponsored by Girl Scouts.

Children as young as nine, being coached about how to have sex and being given nine reasons to have abortions... an organization which makes about 93.5% of their money from providing abortions and dispensing 633,756 Morning After Pills a year, and now sells a 6-inch ruler for schoolkids with the question, “Does Size Matter?” directing them to their sex-fixated site, TeenWire. All with the co-sponsorship of Girl Scouts of America, at least in some of their councils.

Stop the world, I think I want to get off.

Here’s a site offering some info on which councils do and don’t have “relationships” (see the site) with Planned Parentood. Since there is no date on the webpage, I don’t know how current the information is. Can anyone shed some light on this?

Here’s how my state stacks up, at least as of that site’s last update:
Connecticut Girl Scout Councils Having A Relationship With Planned Parenthood:
Connecticut Valley Girl Scout Council, Inc.
Girl Scouts-Connecticut Trails Council, Inc.

Councils in my state which failed to answer requests for this information:
Girl Scout Council of Northwestern Connecticut, Inc.;
Girl Scout Council of Southwestern Connecticut, Inc.;
Girl Scouts of Housatonic Council, Inc.

I wonder why these three councils haven’t responded to this RFI.

I don’t think I’m holier-than-thou when it comes to sex education. I used to read “The Bare Naked Book” by Kathy Stinson and Heather Collins, along with gazillions of other kids’ books, to my son long before he could read. It names and depicts in normal, young-children-appropriate drawings all the body "parts" they can see, including penises, vaginas, and bums, even if there needs to be a little clarifying when they're older. I highly recommend it; it was one of his all-time favorites as a toddler! It presented the human body, both sexes, in its beauty and glory, without shame, without apology, without apprehension. I’d wished this book was around when I was a child.

I even had to have “the talk” with my son well before I or he was really ready to, and it’s funny now, but then I squirmed a bit: early-post-divorce, I’d been dating a divorced man with a young daughter the same age as my son, about 5 or 6. We’d driven separately to meet and see together a children’s play at a local theatre, and afterward, we gave each other a simple, short goodbye kiss standing outside our two cars, with our children sitting inside in their front passenger seats, windows open on a hot day.

His daughter squealed conspiratorially, for the whole parking lot of families to hear, “OOOOoooooo! SE-E-E-X-X-X!!!!”

Well, it occurred to me: if I didn’t have a little discussion with my son on the way home, that he very well but unwittingly could be telling his classmates the next day at preschool that “my mom had sex with her boyfriend in the parking lot yesterday!!”

Now I can LOL!

So I told him on the drive home that “sex” really wasn’t just when a man and woman kiss, there was a lot more to it. I won’t go into the whole lesson, but back then I’d recently read (thank God!) about describing intercourse not in terms of what a man actively “does to” a “passive” woman but that the man’s and woman’s private parts “fit together, one inside the other,” that it’s supposed to feel good for both and can cause a new baby to begin, and that the two reasons for having sex should be because the man and woman really love each other and also if they want to have a baby. (I’ve since changed my personal credo to waiting ‘till (re)marriage—period--but that’s another story!)

And like they said in the article, “they’ll let you know when they’ve learned enough.” Sure enough, my son moved the conversation on, after that much info, and so did I.

I also bought him the book What's Happening to My Body? Book for Boys : A Growing Up Guide for Parents and Sons by Lynda Madaras, later when he was in grade school. While I don't agree with everything in it (re: contraception and other things), it was more than helpful to me as a single mom raising a son alone. First I read it, alone, then had him read it, alone. Heck, I didn't even know some of this stuff happened to boys as they physically matured! Seriously, I recommend it to all moms of growing boys, even if "Dad" is in the picture.

It also had the interesting side effect of de-mystifying all the "bad/ cuss words" for sexual organs and functions that demean both sexes. Sort of like how George Carlin would say the F-word so many times in a routine that it took away the "cool, rebellious appeal" that uttering such words has for some people.

I was grateful to dodge the bullets of being totally clueless, and also avoid leaving my son with no answers to the sometimes crazy but very real questions this book answers for boys. (There's also a corresponding book for girls.)

He also recently attended a great, realistic, down-to-earth, teens’ and young men’s seminar called “Who Moved The Goalpost?” by Bob Gresh, which also comes in a book, and an adult men/retreat leader version. The one for girls and young women is called “And the Bride Wore White.”

So I’m not one who’s against sex education. I just don’t want the same organization promoting how-to’s on sex and abortion to nine-year-olds to be the one sex-educating my or anyone’s child at any time.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA)’s not exactly objective on the subject of sexual issues and standards.

The facts are in PPFA’s annual reports; described here.

As the largest provider in the $1.3 Billion abortion industry for a number of years, PPFA did 227,375 abortions out of 243,235 possible pregnancies they saw in one year (adding # of abortions to prenatal care delivered). That's 93.5%. And that doesn’t even count the number of babies possibly terminated by the Morning After Pill they dispensed 633,756 times. And less than 1% of their services are adoption referrals. If even one-tenth of the MAPs dispensed aborted a baby, then that’s 290,750 total babies lost that year. (For that discussion, check the comments here)

They claim to want to reduce abortions and yet, their latest annual report shows the opposite: they performed 6.7% more abortions in 2002 and made a 300% increase in profits from those abortions over 2001, or $36.6 million profit. They also showed record income in 2002 of $766.6 million and the taxpayer funds that they received hit an all-time high of $254.4 million. That taxpayer money exceeded the amount donated from 2002 and 2001 combined.

They don’t spend more than about 5% of those annual revenues of $766 million to help women keep their babies or give them to loving adoptive couples.

Planned Parenthood lists adoption referrals to make it seem like it "explains all the options," but if anything, they just give you a name and then drop it. Sadly, I know this from when I went there 25 years ago: all they “counseled” me extensively was on having an abortion, and there were several women commenting at our blog (those commenting to this particular post; the comments are there even if it says “0 comments”) who’ve had similar experiences.

Any group that makes that much money from abortion is going to do as little as possible to discourage any woman from saving sex ‘till marriage or at least ‘till they’re adults, and from choosing abortion.

And this whole issue pushes us all up against the wall. What do we do? Do we buy their cookies if the local Girl Scout council has a “relationship” with PPFA?

Sometimes it’s even more complicated than cookies.

I had a wonderful business colleague inviting me to attend their Girl Scout black-tie dinner/fundraisers all this past year; she is on their board. She was going to introduce me to all the top business owners and executives in the state. My business has been awfully hard for two years. I had to make the choice: 1) risk losing all that precious business networking by telling them that unless I knew this council wasn’t in any way involved with PPFA I wouldn’t attend, or 2) keep my “personal beliefs out of my business life” and take advantage of the many and fruitful financial and business contacts I’d make networking at these events as well as the other Management Women group to which my friend belonged.

I kept turning down invites, saying I had “other plans,” which more often than not was true. But finally, with the umpteenth gracious, heartfelt invite, I felt compelled to write her a long letter about all the above.

I didn't want to, mind you. I just felt compelled.

In it, I told her about my abortion and the regret. I also wrote, “I run a great risk of being blacklisted in writing you this letter, however, it is a moral and societal obligation to our country’s children, both born and unborn, that calls me to write. Please hear me out, and with an open mind. I only go into detail here so that you understand that, despite what the mass media would have us believe, this is not coming from a “religious fanaticism,” but from personal experience as well as a concern for all of our children in this country. I have done extensive objective research on both sides before coming to my conclusions, and knowing what the mass media hides from us citizens en masse, it is impossible to remain silent. I wish I could remain silent, believe me. I only ask that you read this in its entirety. If I do not hear from you again, that will be sad, but it will be accepted as your choice.”

Then I held my breath. I received a phone call from her not long after that, graciously saying that she would never have written me off for saying my piece, that she respected me for writing and trusting her with the truth of my beliefs, and that she did not believe their council had any relationship with PPFA, but that I should be receiving a reply from the head of GSA-USA itself on the issue. She looked forward to networking with me in the future at the other businesswomen’s group, and said genuinely that she was very glad I felt I could speak with her about this forthrightly.

I never did hear from the head of GSA-USA. Kinda makes me wonder why. But I at least still have a friend and business colleague who accepts me and my beliefs, even in my work world.

It "worked out" for me. Some say I "lucked out." I know better, believing as I do in Christ.

It may not work out this way for everyone. And I won't tell anyone what to do.

But even if it had bombed my business networking chances, I know I'd still feel a whole heck of a lot better about myself--about my soul's chances--having written that letter, than if I'd taken business based on who I am not. It was no cakewalk, but now that I've done it once, it isn't so scary if I have to do it again.

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