Planned Parenthood gets torched for calling virginity a ‘social construct’

Planned Parenthood faced a wave of backlash on Thursday after arguing that virginity was a “social construct” that originated in harmful, patriarchal ways of thinking.

“The idea of virginity comes from outdated — let’s be real, patriarchal— ways of thinking that hurts everyone,” tweeted the nation’s largest abortion provider.

As of Thursday afternoon, the tweet had a ratio of 1,225 responses to 635 retweets and 364 likes. The top responses were overwhelmingly negative, with comments ranging from outright criticism (“clown show”) to challenging the “construct” label to questioning why virginity was a harmful concept. 

A user named “Freely Ashley” retorted: “Let’s be real: promiscuity hurts everyone. Holding onto your virginity is a very good thing.”

“Rape culture at its finest,” tweeted The Virginia Project. Another tweeted the “frog of shame” graphic, which theorizes that the initial tweet “really sucks” if the frog graphic gets more likes than the initial. It did.

Others suggested that Planned Parenthood’s framing was part of a broader push to lower the age of consent or normalize pedophilia. “Translation: ‘children’ are a social construct…,” one user tweeted. Another mocked Planned Parenthood’s “[v]irginity is a social construct” graphic with one that read “[a]ge is a social construct.”

While “virginity” does carry social connotations, it’s generally understood to describe something one possesses before they’ve engaged in sexual activity with another person. Merriam-Webster dictionary and each attest to this view of virginity while including additional characteristics surrounding purity and being single.

Planned Parenthood’s website similarly says that “[t]he most basic definition of virginity is never having had sex.” On another page, the group says the “definition of virginity is complicated, and it’s really up to you to decide what you believe.” Both pages note that some people may consider sexual activity other than vaginal intercourse to impact their status as virgins.

One user said, “We get it: virgins are a threat to your bottom line.”

Author Samuel Sey similarly wrote that “Teenage virgins are bad for Planned Parenthood’s baby-killing business.”

The group’s most recent annual report showed it receiving record-high funding and committing 374,155 abortions in 2021-2022. It also reported providing 2,348,275 contraceptive services, including 543,046 emergency contraception kits and 1,650,350 reversible contraception clients.

Planned Parenthood arguably has an incentive to degrade society’s notion of virginity. It serves as a virtual epicenter for facilitating sexual activity – whether that be through abortion, contraception, or sex education that eschews traditional morality. 

According to a Claremont Institute report, Planned Parenthood and its affiliates dominate the sex education grant process:

80 percent of HHS sex education funding, went to grantees partnering with Planned Parenthood. Seventy-nine percent of successful programs used Planned Parenthood-endorsed curricula. Planned Parenthood and its affiliates won 86 percent of TPP [Teen Pregnancy Prevention] funds, 90 percent of PREP [Personal Responsibility Education Program] funds, and about three-quarters of SRAE [Sexual Risk Avoidance Education] funds.

The organization’s “Reducing the Risk” curriculum reportedly promotes the “New Abstinence,” which means “choosing not to do any sexual activity that carries a risk for pregnancy or STI/HIV.”

Live Action News’ “Selling Sex in Schools” series describes who is behind Planned Parenthood’s sex education, how their sex ed grooms children for early sexual activity, how their sex ed is actually designed to fail, and the fact that population control and eugenics groups are funding this sex ed. In addition, Live Action’s Sex Ed video series (content warning) uncovered Planned Parenthood employees encouraging young teens to use pornography and to experiment sexually with things like BDSM (sado-masochism).

It’s unclear what exactly prompted the abortion provider’s tweet on Thursday and it wasn’t the first time the group has made such a statement. As far back as 2012, the group’s website declared that there’s “no one universal definition of virginity” before telling readers that only they can answer whether “oral sex counts as sex.” In 2019, it similarly tweeted “A virgin is someone who’s never had sex. But ‘sex’ means different things to different people, so ‘virginity’ does too. Many don’t care what it means or think it matters. Whatever you believe, the fact is you can’t tell if someone’s had sex by checking their hymen.”

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