Pupils will get the wrong message about sex education

Apparently the Richmond County Board of Education is working with the Richmond County Board of Health, which is working with Planned Parenthood -- as evidenced by the groups' presence at the September BOE meeting I attended.

I am concerned with a prospective alliance between the school board and Planned Parenthood. The long-term consequences to our students of having the abortion and condom message in our schools can be devastating to those who hear the message.

If members of the Richmond County school board are really working with Planned Parenthood -- why?

According to Planned Parenthood's website: "To reduce risk for STD/HIV and pregnancy risk related behaviors, young adolescents not only need knowledge and perception of personal vulnerability, but also positive attitudes towards condom use, skills and confidence in their ability to use condoms. The Making Proud Choices! Curriculum is designed to meet those needs."

BUT ACCORDING to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website: "Recommendations for prevention of STD, including HIV infection, should emphasize that risk of infection is most effectively reduced through abstinence or sexual intercourse with a mutually faithful uninfected partner. Condoms do not provide absolute protection from any infection ... ." Several years ago a spokesman from the CDC spoke to faculty at what was then Augusta Technical Institute. His statement to us was that telling teenagers that condoms provided safe sex was deceptive and gave them false security.

Planned Parenthood's website states: "Abortion is a safe and legal way for women to end pregnancy." What Planned Parenthood fails to address are the emotional aftereffects of abortions. Studies have shown:

- The suicide rate after an abortion was three times the general suicide rate and six times that associated with birth. The rate for women following a live birth was 5.9 per 100,000; following miscarriage, 18.1; following abortion, 34.7.

- Abortion -- and its acceptance of the violence of killing the unborn -- lowered a parent's psychic resistance to violence and abuse of the children born later.

- Those having an abortion had elevated rates of subsequent mental-health problems, including depression, anxiety, suicidal behaviors and substance-use disorders.

- Regardless of whether a baby was stillborn, lived briefly, was spontaneously aborted or aborted by choice, there is a need for the mother to go through a grieving period.

- Teens are more vulnerable than adults to suffer distress after an abortion.

WHEN I TAUGHT at Cross Creek High School in Richmond County, a student shared with me that she was pregnant. She cried as I held her and prayed for her and her baby. The next day she came in stone-faced. "Don't worry about it. My boyfriend is going to have it taken care of," she said -- and he did. The "baby problem" was gone, but as I watched the rest of the semester, this beautiful young lady slid into a depression that I could not reach through. Funny -- Planned Parenthood never mentions this possibility on their website.

I have personally reviewed the Aspire sex-education curriculum that the school board decided not to allow to be taught in health classes at Butler High School and Sego Middle School. Aspire is an excellent tool, teaching teens how to make wise decisions in all areas of their lives, including sexual involvement. Unlike Planned Parenthood's program, it does not promote the use of condoms, but stresses instead the valuing of oneself as being important enough to make the right decisions in life -- including abstinence until marriage.

Before the Richmond County school board continues working with the Board of Health, its members need to remember that our students are at a vulnerable age, and the quick fixes proposed by Planned Parenthood can have devastating effects later on in life. The school board should protect our young people -- not sell them out for an unhealthy alliance with Planned Parenthood via the Board of Health.

(The writer is a retired math teacher. She lives in Augusta.)

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