Calling an abstinence-only educational curriculum “dangerous,” Planned Parenthood affiliates filed a lawsuit on Friday against the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The abortion corporation announced that it was “challenging the administration’s efforts to impose their abstinence-only-until-marriage (AOUM) agenda on the 1.2 million young people who are set to benefit from the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPP program). The lawsuit seeks to protect the future of the TPP program. If successful, the lawsuit will ensure that the TPP program maintains its evidence-based principles and that new grantees are not forced to push dangerous AOUM curriculums.”
Of course, Planned Parenthood’s narrative comes directly from the fiction section. Over in non-fiction, the facts show that the TPP programs are vastly ineffective.
The suit stemmed from this announcement in April from the HHS, which stated its intent to fund pregnancy prevention programs — but Planned Parenthood says it was tricky language. According to Broadly:
The new [abstinence-based] programs would focus on “ensuring all youth understand that teen sex is a risk behavior,” and emphasize how the “avoidance” and “reduction” of that risk — coded words and phrases that all suggest a move toward abstinence-only education.
Of course, sex is a risky behavior, especially at young ages, when teens can’t be assured of their partner’s past activities. To assume it’s not risky is irresponsible at best; in reality, that’s what is dangerous, not abstinence. Unplanned pregnancy and STIs are very real risks of sexual activity in teens.
In practical terms, moving toward abstinence-based education is probably more likely to be effective than the programs that have previously been used. Yet Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Dawn Laguens, said, regarding the lawsuit:
The Trump-Pence administration is trying to impose their abstinence-only agenda on young people across the country at the expense of young people’s health. All of the evidence shows that abstinence-only-until-marriage programs do not work and put our young people at risk. As a result of the administration’s action, young people will not have access to the information they need to take care of their health. We will always fight to empower young people with education and full, accurate information.
The results of a five-year report from the Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Adolescent Health show that a half billion dollars of spending and half a decade of work has failed to produce the effective sex education programs promised. In fact, a closer look at the data from the HHS office shows that in some cases, the federally-funded sex education programs helped contribute to an increase of pregnancy and sexual exploration in teenagers, while other programs didn’t impact behavior changes at all.
And there was one deeply troubling trend of the HHS report, Live Action News noted:
The most disturbing finding from the results of the $4 million that Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest received is the failure of the program to deliver as promised. This grant used the Teen Outreach Program (TOP) “evidence-based intervention.” However, the evaluation of the program revealed, among other things, that “TOP females reported becoming pregnant at a higher rate than females receiving the alternative program.”
Virtually every one of the reports delivered results showing the Planned Parenthood programs didn’t deliver results. And yet Planned Parenthood perpetuates the myth that their sex education programs are important for teen health because “most” of them are having sex. Planned Parenthood’s argument is that:
Abstinence-only-until-marriage programs ignore reality, given that most people have had sex by the time they’re 18 and that the median age for first marriage was 29.5 for men and 27.4 for women. In order to escape the clear evidence that abstinence-only programs don’t work and are harmful, ideologues like Valerie Huber and other backwards officials in the Department of Health and Human Services have taken steps to rename it sexual risk avoidance.
In reality, “most” school-aged teens are not having sex, according to this report from ReCAPP, which is a teen pregnancy education resource from the same company, ETR, that produces many of Planned Parenthood’s own sex education curriculum programs. According to ReCAPP, “[b]ased on the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance (YRBS) data, over half (59%) of all students in grades 9 to 12 indicated that they had not yet had sex,” and “41% of high school students reported having sexual intercourse.” ReCAPP’s sources are the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control. This is another case of Planned Parenthood trying to assert its need, despite the fact that the need is false. Forty-one percent and falling is hardly “most.”
And in one of the most ironic statements of all, as Broadly reports:
Planned Parenthood says it’s unlawful to put the federal funds toward a mission so divorced from what they were originally intended for. If a judge rules in the organization’s favor, it would effectively safeguard TPPP against any ideologically-driven attacks.
If anyone knows about misusing federal funds, it’s Planned Parenthood. The abortion corporation receives upwards of a half a billion dollars in taxpayer funds each year — funds which actually do end up helping to support abortions, thanks to fungibility, despite federal laws against use of these funds for abortion.
The abortion corporation has also been exposed for its misuse of government funds. In fact, a report submitted to Congress last year from Alliance Defending Freedom and the Charlotte Lozier Institute showed “massive fraud, waste, and abuse by this billion-dollar abortion giant,” and it noted that one in four Planned Parenthood businesses “has been implicated in financial fraud or mismanagement.” That’s the reality of unlawfully using government money, not the act of teaching students to avoid unhealthy sexual behavior.
All in all, the only “dangerous” sex education programs are the ones that allow Planned Parenthood an open entrance into public schools. Live Action’s investigation into Planned Parenthood’s sexual advice for children is dangerous, and their aiding of sexual abusers and covering up the abuse of minors is the real threat to the nation’s teenagers.