TEMPE, AZ, January 9, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Parents and community leaders in Tempe, Arizona, are outraged after learning that their school district is considering implementing a sexual education curriculum written by Planned Parenthood. The other two sex ed curricula being considered equally promote abortion.
At Tuesday’s meeting of a Tempe Union High School District school board committee tasked with choosing a new sex-ed program for the district’s seven high schools drew a standing-room-only crowd of angry parents after word got out that the committee had invited a Planned Parenthood employee to give a 90-minute presentation to review and recommend potential options.
Arizona Planned Parenthood education director Vicki Hadd-Wissler was asked to evaluate three free and/or low-cost programs the district is said to be considering for use beginning next year, after issuing a directive last spring that schools adopt a “comprehensive, uniform sex-ed curriculum” to replace the abstinence-based programs they had been using.
The three programs Hadd-Wissler reviewed for the committee were Family Life and Sexual Health (FLASH), It’s All One, and Our Whole Lives (OWL) – produced by the Seattle and King County, Washington, schools; International Planned Parenthood Federation; and the Unitarian Universalist Church, respectively.
Arizona Right to Life president Jason Walsh, who attended the committee meeting, told LifeSiteNews that parents and community activists alike looked into all three programs prior to the meeting, and were appalled at what they saw as an ideologically driven, radical approach to sex education that seems custom-designed to create future clients for Planned Parenthood by fostering promiscuity.
All three programs promote promiscuity, abortion, contraceptives, and alternative sexualities such as homosexuality as morally neutral “human rights,” and encourage children to actively seek “reproductive justice” and “equality” by opposing restrictions on abortion and promoting same-sex “marriage” and adoption.
“It’s really an ideology of ‘anything goes, whatever feels natural to you, just roll with it,” Walsh told LifeSiteNews. “Anything goes, as long as it feels right, and if anything doesn’t feel right, explore it.”
Walsh especially objected to the “endless amounts of roleplaying” featured in the curricula, rehearsed scenes acted out by children in order to “practice” things like making or rejecting sexual advances, which he said are geared toward getting kids to “open up and untie their natural modesty and get them to think ‘oh, this might be normal, this may be acceptable.’”
While the district rushed to assure parents that Planned Parenthood’s education director was only serving in an advisory role for the committee and that any sex-ed program recommended will be voted on by the school board and taught by faculty, not Planned Parenthood staff, many parents and pro-life activists objected to the abortion giant being involved in any part of the selection process.
Walsh told LifeSiteNews that he and the vast majority of parents in attendance were incredulous that TUHSD would trust a Planned Parenthood representative to give an unbiased analysis of sexual education materials in the first place.
“Planned Parenthood [is] the number one elective abortion provider in America,” Walsh told LifeSiteNews. “What’s really important is that Tempe area high school students typically will feed into ASU/Arizona State University, which every year is number one or number two in terms of the largest student enrollment. So a very critical point is that of course Planned Parenthood wants to have a curriculum that creates that type of promiscuity, because they benefit from it from the huge amount of students that they see at their abortion mill, just about a mile from the university.”
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a pro-life legal foundation, said that not only was Tuesday’s presentation by Planned Parenthood’s Vicki Hadd-Wissler morally offensive, it might have been illegal.
According to Senate Bill 1009, which went into effect in April 2012, “no Arizona school district ‘may allow any presentation during instructional time or furnish any materials to pupils as part of any instruction that does not give preference, encouragement and support to childbirth and adoption as preferred options to elective abortion.’”
But Planned Parenthood is “pro-abortion, not pro-childbirth/adoption” according to ADF.
“The problem is the wisdom of a school district bringing in Planned Parenthood to consult them on their sex education program. It's is an organization they shouldn't be getting their advice from,” said Jeremy Tedesco, an attorney for ADF.
While Hadd-Wissler confirmed for Fox 10 Phoenix that she had been invited to the school board meeting, Superintendent Kenneth Baca downplayed her connection to Planned Parenthood.
“The committee did not invite Planned Parenthood as an organization to promote any program,” Baca told ABC 15. “A person on the committee knew a person that was familiar with the programs that were being considered and they asked that person to speak. That person happens to work at Planned Parenthood [as its state education director].”
The superintendent posted a letter to the school’s website assuring parents that Planned Parenthood would not be teaching any classes at the district’s high schools, and said Hadd-Wissler’s endorsement of the three programs was only a “recommendation.”
But at least one of the programs being considered, “It’s All One,” was written directly by Planned Parenthood and is offered for free at the organization’s website. In the section on “Sexual and Reproductive Rights,” the curriculum calls romantic and sexual license a “human rights issue” and says that access to abortion is a “basic right.”
“Only when our basic rights are honored (both by governments and by other individuals) can we make meaningful choices about intimate relationships, sex, and childbearing,” the authors argue. “For example, individuals can make decisions about if, when, and with whom they will form a romance, a long-term relationship, or a marriage. They can avoid being married too young or against their will. Or they can have an intimate relationship with someone of the same sex.”
The Planned Parenthood course teaches teens that basic human reproductive rights include the right to “negotiate condom use to prevent infection,” the right to “have sex with someone of the same sex,” the right to “have a safe abortion,” and the right to “adopt a child regardless of marital status or sexual identity.”
A second curriculum, “Our Whole Lives” (OWL), was developed by the liberal Unitarian Universalist Church to meet guidelines written with input from Planned Parenthood. Like Planned Parenthood’s own materials, the guidelines promote extramarital sex, abortion, contraception, masturbation, homosexuality and “gender expression” as morally neutral human rights.
The independent Vermont newspaper Seven Days once described OWL as “28 hour-and-a-half-long … no-nonsense lessons in human sexuality that would make some adults blush.” According to their report, “The discussions, films, role-playing exercises and, yes, even overnight sleepovers covered such sensitive and usually taboo topics as abortion, masturbation, sexual fantasies, incest, rape and gender-reassignment surgery.”
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The third curriculum, FLASH, published by Seattle and King County Schools, also promotes abortion as a morally neutral option, and goes out of its way to tell teens that it is “the most common surgical procedure performed in the United States,” ending nearly 25 percent of all American pregnancies, in contrast to adoption, which occurs in less than one percent of all U.S. pregnancies.
FLASH advises students that most abortion procedures take only 5-10 minutes – the rest of the time spent at the facility is used for paperwork and “rest.”
It makes no mention of the potentially life-threatening complications of abortion, instead repeating dubious claims that, “Abortions performed in the first trimester pose virtually no long-term risk of such problems as infertility, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage or birth defect; there is no association between abortion and breast cancer or any other type of cancer; and abortion does not pose a hazard to women’s mental health.”