Regarding comprehensive sexual education in the Tempe Union High School District Ralph Sheldon said, regarding Planned Parenthood, that “he feels uncomfortable with an organization whose primary function is providing abortions.” The percentage of Planned Parenthood services that are abortion relation: 3 percent. Ninety-seven percent, or one might say its primary function, is providing STD testing, cancer screenings and contraceptive care which 99 percent of women use at some point in their lives and drastically reduces the need for abortions.

It was also stated by community members at the TUHSD meeting that they “did not want the district to be affiliated with a nonprofit organization that condones providing contraception to youths…” Eighty-two percent of Planned Parenthood clients are over 20 years old.

Another community member stated: “That’s the kind of organization with that type of philosophy that we don’t want teaching our kids about sex.”

Stated mission of Planned Parenthood: “Planned Parenthood believes in the fundamental right of each individual, throughout the world, to manage his or her fertility, regardless of the individual’s income, marital status, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, national origin, or residence. We believe that respect and value for diversity in all aspects of our organization are essential to our well-being. We believe that reproductive self-determination must be voluntary and preserve the individual’s right to privacy. We further believe that such self-determination will contribute to an enhancement of the quality of life and strong family relationships. “This is a mission that many should be able to support, I would think.

The Center for Disease and Prevention reports “among U.S. high school students surveyed in 2011, 47 percent had had sexual intercourse, and 76 percent of those did not use birth control and that our country hit an historic low pregnancy rate of 34/1000 teenager girls (as recent as 2002 it was 56/1000). Compare that to The Netherland rate of 5/1000 where comprehensive sex education is offered to young people. Consequently their contraceptive use is higher, abortion rates lower and the average age of first intercourse is higher. Please read that last line again. Education and vital information does not make young people promiscuous, a fallacy that I believe stagnates our ability to facilitate healthy attitudes about sexual health to our youth.

I understand being close-minded. I was feeling pretty close-minded when I found out the Catholic Church was providing sexual education to Kyrene middle school students. I do not agree with the “philosophy” of the Catholic Church when it comes to sexual matters and contraceptive use. However, before going to a meeting to raise my voice against the curriculum at a Kyrene board meeting, I actually READ the offered curriculum by the Catholic Church. And although I did not agree with all aspects of the material and the way it was presented, overall I thought it was acceptable. The parts that I did not agree with, or felt had not been included, I supplemented at home. I would imagine if I would feel the same way about the curriculum recently presented to the Tempe Union School District. That is my job as a parent.

Rhetoric is a dangerous, yet effective tool to persuade people to a particular point of view. However, as revered author Aldous Huxley once said, facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.

Wanda Kolomyjec, M.A.,

Faculty associate Arizona State University, New College of Arts and Interdisciplinary Sciences

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