I returned to my old high school Friday for its annual Alumni Assembly. It was my first visit to Puyallup High School since pledging in a letter to the editor of the school newspaper last March that, “should the Vanguard continue offering [advertising] space to Planned Parenthood in its pages, this alumn[us] will seek recourse at the administrative and district levels.” Handed a copy of the student newspaper, I opened it to find not one, but two advertisements for “family planning” services that are notorious promoters of abortion.
“Need Free Birth Control?” asked the first ad for the Federal Way Public Health Center. “FREE … Condoms! Morning After Pill! Pregnancy tests! STD tests! Public Health Teen Clinic can help! Wednesday Walk-In Only for Teens, 2:30-5.”
The next ad was for “Free Birth Control for 1 Year at Planned Parenthood.” The Seattle and King County Public Health Department (taxpayers) funded the first ad, and taxpayers offset the funding for the second ad.
I suppose that similar advertisements appeared in American newspapers of the 18th and 19th century to promote the slave trade. Their modern counterparts are worse, for not only do these family planning advertisements propose the very abolition of life and character beneath their friendly invitations to the clinic, they are funded – directly or indirectly – by you and me.
The reason why Planned Parenthood was able to make a net profit of $35.2 million in 2004, according to its new annual report, is because of a record $265.2 million in taxpayer funds. By far, the general public gave more money to Planned Parenthood this year than did private contributors.
Taxpayers generously provided one third of the $302.6 million Planned Parenthood budget for 2004. This spoiled-profitable “non-profit” organization uses part of its lavish endowments to fund advertisements like the one that has appeared in every issue of my high-school’s newspaper since I was a sophomore at Puyallup High School half a decade ago.
Certainly, my old high school isn’t the only one with student newspaper exposure to Planned Parenthood advertising. I was once invited to speak on a panel for a high-school journalism workshop hosted by the Seattle Times and, in a breakout session, I was assigned to critique the student newspaper for Vashon Island High School. Seeing the familiar Planned Parenthood ad, I registered my moral objections to an unsympathetic group of high schoolers. “What’s wrong with that?” asked one student as if he had never known that there are people who oppose premarital sex and abortion. “They provide necessary services.”
As far as I can tell, it seems that Planned Parenthood is the most loyal advertiser in America’s high-school newspapers, period. And it goes without saying that many college newspapers also have Planned Parenthood ads. The ads are slick works of propaganda. “Planned Parenthood has been running ads in newspapers around the country that adopt a lesson from George Orwell and engage in a heavy dose of “newspeak,” writes pro-life author Kerby Anderson. Few school districts have the prudence to formulate advertising policies to keep inappropriate propagandizing out of official student publications.
But in some places, school administrators and student newspaper editors are taking action. At Edmonds-Woodway High School near Seattle, school administrators heard complaints from parents last month and decided to pull Planned Parenthood advertising. Similar parent complaints at Pequannock High School in New Jersey prompted a new advertising policy there several years ago. And last year, administrators at Parkway Central High School in St. Louis pulled a controversial ad for Pregnancy Resource Center.
That’s not a repression of free speech – Planned Parenthood is neither a private nor a life-affirming organization. It advocates and causes death – the death of innocent life and the death of innocence – and it uses public money to do so.
So let me address this to every pro-life American who is either a parent of a child in a public school, a taxpayer, an administrator or a student: It is time to declare war on Planned Parenthood and “family planning” advertisements in our public school newspapers. These works of propaganda made possible by public funding are aimed directly toward the annihilation of the founding principle that all are created equal. If our public schools are allowing the promotion of this deadly agenda, how can we remain silent?
Find out whether your local public school newspaper is a forum for Planned Parenthood. If it is, contact the newspaper and the school principal. More communities must join Edmonds-Woodway High School in rejecting the rancid dollars of anti-life family planning agencies.
The Puyallup School District will continue to hear from me until abortion agency advertisements are banned. Furthermore, let me suggest that pro-life Americans e-mail letters to the editor of the Puyallup High School newspaper. Tell the faculty advisers and student staff that it is time to take a stand for human life and moral character.