MADD knows parents can influence kids against risky behavior. So does Planned Parenthood.

When it comes to talking to adolescents about sexuality, pregnancy, and abortion, parents can take a page out of the handbook of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) — literally.

Along with Robert Turrisi, Ph.D., Professor of Biobehavioral Health and Prevention Research Center at Penn State, MADD created the Power of Parents handbook to help parents talk to their teenagers about drinking and drunk driving. Turrisi conducted a five-year study on the effectiveness of that handbook and found that “when parents utilized the Power of Parents Handbook strategies, their teens declined more rides from a driver that consumed alcohol or any drug other than alcohol, and they were less likely to drive impaired.

The importance of encouraging parental monitoring and involvement has also been supported by other studies. According to the CDC Parental Monitoring and Risk Behavior Survey, “Compared with students who reported low levels of parental monitoring, students who reported high parental monitoring experienced more positive health outcomes (e.g., fewer sexual risk behaviors, less substance use, fewer experiences of violence, fewer mental health challenges, and fewer suicide attempts) and engaged in more protective behaviors (e.g., condom use).”

CDC graphic on importance of parental involvement with teens

When it comes to certain behaviors like drinking and drugs, policy makers and society agree that parental monitoring is important in preventing teens from making bad decisions. But when it comes to sexuality, pregnancy, and abortion, this is not the case.

Many think that teenagers should be able to have abortions and without their parents knowing. Why is this? Because the abortion industry and its leader, Planned Parenthood, see parents as an obstacle to teens having sex and then having abortions. Former Planned Parenthood sex educator Monica Cline stated in an interview that “risk reduction” — not abstinence, of course — was Planned Parenthood’s focus when teaching students — and they taught them explicit information as well.

“Risk reduction is simply telling them how to make the high risk safer by using lubrication and condoms,” Cline said. “The next step is to make them understand they need to be tested for STD’s every couple months. The sex education grooms them for promiscuity. Grooms them for STD treatment, and grooms them for abortion.”

Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry are certainly not above spreading medical misinformation in order to make this happen. In contrast, MADD’s Power of Parents Handbook gives parents a plan to protect teenagers with the truth.

An accurate explanation of the adolescent brain

The MADD handbook teaches parents that teenagers often make impulsive decisions based on emotions without thinking about long-term consequences, a fact that is supported by other accepted scientific research. This means teens need help making good decisions. For example, an article published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in 2020 concluded that “the data establish fairly clearly that most adolescents younger than the legal age of majority have not yet attained a level of brain maturation that justifies treating them like adults with respect to significant, potentially life-altering health care decisions” (emphasis added).

In direct contradiction to this, however, the official policy of the AAP is that adolescents should be able to get abortions without parental consent.

A paper released in 2022 explaining the reasoning behind this policy wrongly cited the above mentioned 2020 article as evidence that adolescents can make medical decisions. This is blatant deception. 

The reason given by the AAP to forgo parental consent is that it can cause delays in getting an abortion. This indicates that the medical community wants teenagers to get abortions quickly, before they can change their minds. There is also the false notion that some women “need” abortions to save their lives, so they falsely claim that having involved parents can delay “life saving care.”

Honesty about the effects of dangerous decisions

Planned Parenthood and the AAP downplay the seriousness of abortion. The 2020 paper said that adolescents were not mature enough to make “life-altering health care decisions.” If the public is convinced that abortion is not a big deal, not life-altering, and not killing a human being, then it is easy to convince them that adolescents can make this decision on their own.

Planned Parenthood repeats over and over that abortions are safe and common. The AAP and Planned Parenthood claim that there are no negative physical or psychological effects from abortion, but this is not the case. They also cite studies that supposedly prove very few women regret their abortions. 

Claims like this are largely based on The Turnaway Study, which has been shown to be wildly unreliable (low participation and high dropout rates, biased study sample with no true control group, and much more), though it is widely touted by the media and abortion industry. More thorough studies have been done, such as this one which analyzed 22 studies and found “a moderate to highly increased risk of mental health problems after abortion,” and stating, “The finding that abortion is associated with significantly higher risks of mental health problems compared with carrying a pregnancy to term is consistent with literature demonstrating protective effects of pregnancy delivered relative to particular mental health outcomes.”


In contrast, the Power of Parents Handbook is very honest about the dangers of drinking and drunk driving. It includes statistics like, “Kids who start drinking young are seven times more likely to be in an alcohol-related crash.” There is a strong message to parents: “We urge you not to underestimate how dangerous alcohol and marijuana, impaired driving, and riding with impaired drivers are for teens.”

Planned Parenthood’s words to parents are very different from the MADD handbook. They downplay the danger and seriousness of premarital sex and getting an abortion. The language assumes that adolescents are going to have sex and focuses on helping them to get contraception. Planned Parenthood wants your teen to think sex (an incredibly powerful force with the potential to create new life) doesn’t really have risks; they claim it is a casual thing, a mere way of self-expression, and that abortion is an acceptable form of birth control. It’s not a big deal to get pregnant because you can just get an abortion. With the widespread availability of the abortion pill, this now seems more true than ever.

Helping adolescents to delay becoming sexually active is, of course, the best proactive course. A 2023 study showed thatearly sexual intercourse (ESI) [before 15] in adolescence is associated with problems in health and social development.” It is important that parents educate themselves and share information like this with their teenage children. Most teenagers under 15 who become pregnant get abortions, according to the CDC.

A method for talking about difficult topics

The best tool that MADD gives parents is simply a framework for how to talk to their teenagers about difficult topics. They repeatedly reference their how, what, why model. It is not enough to tell your teenager “don’t drink, don’t have sex, don’t get in a car with someone who is drunk.”

Help them develop their growing brains and decision making skills. When possible, ask them thought-provoking questions to help them come to their own conclusions. Talk about what sex is, what its purpose is, why it’s best to wait until marriage. Discuss how powerful their hormones are and how it is hard to think in a moment of attraction/passion.

Our society has divorced sex from procreation — help your teen to see why they are inherently connected, and that when you decide to have sex you decide that you are ready to accept any children that might come from that. 

MADD urges parents to have these types of serious conversations frequently, not just once, establishing an open, positive relationship with their children. We need to continue to fight against laws that want to take away parental involvement or consent. They may be good for the abortion industry, but they’re dangerous for our children.

The DOJ put a pro-life grandmother in jail for protesting the killing of preborn children. Please take 30-seconds to TELL CONGRESS: STOP THE DOJ FROM TARGETING PRO-LIFE AMERICANS.

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