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Pro-lifers protest outside a Reading, Pennsylvania school board meeting Students for Life of America
Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire

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Pro-lifers stop Planned Parenthood from opening inside high school – for now

Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire
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Pro-life teens in Reading, PA Students for Life of America

READING, Pennsylvania, June 23, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Massive outcry from pro-life students and activists caused a Pennsylvania school board to pull a proposal for the establishment of a Planned Parenthood-run "sexual health counseling center" inside a high school. 

However, the fight isn't over. The board will likely debate the proposal at another time and vote on it in August.

The pro-abortion group AccessMatters suggested the creation of a "sexual health counseling center" inside Reading High School and run by Planned Parenthood. This center would focus "primarily [on] counseling services and condoms," according to the Reading Eagle, and "Planned Parenthood Keystone would manage daily operations."

AccessMatters runs "community-based programs" that deal with issues like "teen pregnancy prevention and education" and "LGBT health disparities." It admits that its in-school clinics funnel students to places where they can receive "sexual and reproductive health services," often a euphemism for abortion and contraception.

"Our unique position within the sexual and reproductive health care community allows us to not only have a real-time understanding of the needs of our communities, but also anticipate those needs," its website says. "This vantage point allows us to respond with programs that improve individuals’ quality of life, support them through difficult or dramatic life changes, and assist them in strengthening health promoting behaviors. Through our unique abilities to engage and empower even the hardest-to-reach populations, we are closing the gap between those with access to sexual and reproductive health and those without."

AccessMatters says its "school-based health resource centers" provide "confidential school-based places where students can receive counseling and education, condoms, and referrals to community-based providers for sexual and reproductive health services."

"If Planned Parenthood is allowed to be inside Reading High School, they are going to replicate this model in high schools – and likely middle schools – across the country. They cannot be allowed prime access to our children," said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America.

The Reading school board was scheduled to discuss the proposal on Wednesday, but it was pulled from the meeting's agenda at the last minute without notice.

"It had apparently been pulled [at the] last minute after seeing us," Michael Israel of LeHigh Valley Pro-Life Future, who was at the meeting, told LifeSiteNews. He noted that the Reading school board requires "a one-meeting pause between discussion and voting."

"Board President Abraham J. Cepeda said afterward that the item was pulled from the agenda, which was posted to the district website shortly before the meeting," the Reading Eagle reported. "He said the proposal most likely will return for discussion and a subsequent vote in August. Board members did not publicly acknowledge their audience of roughly 40 pro-life activists — many wearing bright blue shirts proclaiming, 'I am the pro-life generation' — during the meeting."

One of the people protesting the proposed Planned Parenthood was 18-year-old Olivia Clark, who graduated from a nearby high school last year and then gave birth to a son. She said her son was "saved" by the pro-life movement and that "once you choose life, you learn the meaning of love and being an adult, and you realize that's better than anything."

Julia Coppa, another local 20-year-old, said Planned Parenthood makes it obvious it doesn't think highly of young people and their ability to choose what's right.

"Planned Parenthood sets the bar too low for young people by displaying a lack of confidence in us … and discouraging us from pursuing relationships that are real and lasting versus transient things," she said.

"We are so proud of the collaboration and unwavering dedication by Reading students, parents, and community leaders," said Michele Hendrickson, East Coast Regional Director for Students for Life of America. "We are hopeful that the delayed vote is a sign that the board members recognize Planned Parenthood’s damaged brand. Students know that they deserve better than Planned Parenthood, and we are calling on these board members to protect them from this disastrous proposal."

The condoms Planned Parenthood distributes get consistently terrible ratings from their users

Former abortion workers say they created a market for abortions through sex-ed programs that encouraged promiscuity and put teen girls on low-dose, ineffective hormonal birth control.

Contact information for Reading school board members can be found here.

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