ACTION: Planned Parenthood does not belong in our schools. The Reading School District will “most likely” vote on having a Planned Parenthood in Reading High School in August. Contact the Reading School Board at this link.
As Live Action reported in a June call to action, the Reading School District, in Reading, Pennsylvania, has been considering adding a Planned Parenthood into Reading High School. Access Matters has plans for the facility, which would be operated by Planned Parenthood staff.
The vote, which had already been delayed once, was scheduled to take place on June 28 after a June 21 hearing. Students for Life of America caught wind of the proposed vote and showed up in full force to share the pro-life opposition.
SFLA president Kristan Hawkins spoke further about her group’s appearance in a blog post. She included stories of community support, sharing: “As we rallied, we were greeted with constant stream of friendly honks, waves, and cheers from Reading citizens. Community members stopped to thank us for our presence,” she wrote. One local Pennsylvania woman told Hawkins that “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.”
Michele Hendrickson, Students for Life of America’s East Coast Regional Director, spoke about the delayed vote, as well as the efforts and students, parents, and community members against the Planned Parenthood facility:
We are so proud of the collaboration and unwavering dedication by Reading students, parents, and community leaders. 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.
As it stands, discussion and a vote will “most likely” return in August, Board President Abraham J. Cepeda told Reading Eagle. Any month in which Planned Parenthood is not directly influencing vulnerable high school students is a good month, but pressure must continue to remind board members that pro-lifers will not be silent about the dangers of such a facility. We cannot stand by while Planned Parenthood attempts to take control over the lives of high school students, particularly when these young teens may find themselves in desperate, difficult, or unexpected circumstances.
Supporters of the proposed Planned Parenthood facility have connected it with a desire to reduce teen pregnancy rates in the area, though a study showed that handing students free condoms (which Planned Parenthood staff members will be doing) actually increases teen pregnancy rates. In the United Kingdom, a study showed that spending less on sex education reduced teen pregnancy rates.
And, as I reported earlier this month about the facility proposal:
The program plans to not only give students condoms, but also to refer them to Planned Parenthood Keystone. This Planned Parenthood has centers which perform abortions, including the one in Reading. Thus, students could be given biased information regarding abortions and even be pushed into and referred for one — a moneymaker and focus for Planned Parenthood — all during the course of a previously normal school day…
SFLA also showed up on June 28 when the school board discussed the proposal, despite the vote being delayed until August. While SFLA and others spoke out against having Planned Parenthood in Reading High School, supporters of Planned Parenthood also showed up and stuck to typical talking points:
Pro-choice advocates repeated familiar themes like “We need to reduce teen pregnancy. We need education to do that.” Pro-lifers shared personal and factual testimonies of why Planned Parenthood was not appropriate for the school community.
Supporters of the facility have also made oft-repeated anti-empowerment and anti-women claims about pregnant and parenting teens, suggesting that they have to choose between an education and/or career and being pregnant. Apparently, their chief concern about education is to ensure a young woman doesn’t stay pregnant. SFLA, which counteracts this view with their Pregnant on Campus initiative, also offered life-affirming alternatives to Planned Parenthood in Reading, Pennsylvania:
- Berks Community Health Center
838 Penn Street, Reading, PA 19602
Phone: (610) 988-4838
Sliding Fee Program: http://www.berkschc.net/images/Media/Sliding_Fee_Discount_Program_Application_COMPLETE_March_2015.pdf
Women’s Health Services: http://berkschc.net/index.php/services/women-s-health
Prenatal Care: http://berkschc.net/index.php/services/prenatal-care
Free pregnancy testing is available at all of our health center locations.
There is no need to make an appointment, and you don’t have to be a BCHC patient. You may simply walk in and request a free pregnancy test at the front desk and our staff will take care of you.
- Lifeline of Berks County
Phone: (610) 374-8545
612 Reading Avenue, West Reading, PA 19611
Services: Pregnancy Tests, Options Support, Emergency Material Aid, Maternity Clothes, Parenting Support and Preparation, Referrals (community, medical, housing, drug and alcohol counseling, etc), Breastfeeding Support, Insurance Information
- Mercy Community Crisis Pregnancy Center
105 S. 5th Street, Reading PA 19602
Services: Pregnancy Tests, Options Support, Material Aid, Peer Counseling, Referrals for Social Services, STI Information, Emergency Material Support, Parenting Education
To contact the Board and makes sure they keep Planned Parenthood out of Reading High School, go to this link.