The International Planned Parenthood Federation recently issued a report that advocates sex education being given to children as young as ten years old and criticized the Catholic Church for denying the “pleasurable and positive aspects of sex.” The report has faced backlash from religious communities, including one critic who claimed that it supports “physical and emotional bondage.”
Planned Parenthood's “Stand and Deliver” report, published in Nov. of 2009, states that “Young people's sexuality is still contentious for many religious institutions. Fundamentalist and other religious groups – the Catholic Church and madrasas (Islamic Schools) for example – have imposed tremendous barriers that prevent young people, particularly, from obtaining information and services related to sex and reproduction. Currently, many religious teachings deny the pleasurable and positive aspects of sex.”
The report states that children 10 and older should be regarded as “sexual beings” and given a “comprehensive sexuality education” by governments, aid organizations and the like. The report also asserts that sex education should reflect human sexuality as “a positive force for change and development, as a source of pleasure, an embodiment of human rights and an expression of self.”
Numerous critics have responded to the release of the report, including Teresa Tomeo, Catholic author and syndicated talk show host, who countered Planned Parenthood's claims in an email interview with CNA on Tuesday.
“Over and over again science and common sense affirm moral truths taught by Jesus and the Church especially in the areas of human sexuality,” Tomeo said in response to Planned Parenthood's attack on Catholic sexual values.
She backed up her argument for the truth of Church teachings, saying, “Studies from the Centers for Disease Control, the American Psychological Association and others show the damaging impact of pre-marital sex; STD's at epidemic proportions with one out of four sexually active teens contracting an STD by the time they graduate from high school; the objectification of girls and women leading to an increase in body image issues, eating disorders, depression and even increases in attempted suicide, not to mention of course the spiritual aspect that is ignored by the Planned Parenthoods of the world.”
“If their ideas are so grand then why is so much pain and misery attached to their idea of freedom,” she asked.
Tomeo charged that “What they are actually pushing is bondage both in the physical and emotional sense.”
Ed Machmann, spokesman for New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, told Fox News on Tuesday that Planned Parenthood's new report is “trying to teach children sex without values and that sex is a matter of pleasure and done without consequences.” Machmann also argued that “Stand and Deliver” is “part of an effort to get children to reject traditional values and accept a liberal American-European view.”
“In many traditional countries – Catholic and Muslim – it won't work and should be seen as cultural imperialism,” he added.
Both Mechmann and Tomeo noted that Planned Parenthood has a financial incentive for targeting children as young as 10 in their sex education efforts. “Money is a major part of their agenda,” said Tomeo. “They make money off of abortion and contraception. The more people engaging in risky sexual behavior the bigger their business.”
Machmann agreed with Tomeo's reasoning, responding, “The difference between Planned Parenthood and us is that we don't make money off what we teach and say. They do. They make money off contraceptives and abortions.”
“In the United States Planned Parenthood is the number one abortion provider,” said Tomeo. “All we have to do is simply start connecting the dots.”
“But there is also of a bigger agenda against family values,” Tomeo added. “Just look at what happened the last few weeks with the controversy over the Super Bowl ad featuring college football start Tim Tebow and his Mom. Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and NOW made such a huge fuss about an ad that promoted strong family commitment. It's all about their particular brand of group think or liberal extremism.”