Way to Go, Planned Parenthood

Miriam Grossman, M.D.
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Posted: Nov 10, 2009 12:01 AM
Way to Go, Planned Parenthood

In the battle over sex education, Planned Parenthood claims the high ground in providing accurate information and protecting reproductive health. Their homepage states, “We deliver comprehensive and medically accurate information that empowers women, men, teens, and families to make informed choices and lead healthy lives.”

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As a physician who has spent hundreds of hours with young people with sexually transmitted infections, I’m on a one-woman mission to expose the falsehood of those claims. Planned Parenthood’s sexual health education is not comprehensive or medically accurate; to the contrary, this eminent, federally funded organization endangers lives by withholding critical biological truths.

Consider the advice given young people by their VP of Medical Affairs, Vanessa Cullins.

Dr. Cullins, an obstetrician-gynecologist, has gone on YouTube to declare, “Expect to have HPV once you become sexually intimate – all of us get it.” So make sure you’re vaccinated, she advises kids, and get screened for cervical cancer.

How can a medical doctor, an expert in women’s health, make this preposterous assertion?

It’s as if the American Medical Association announced: “Expect to have diabetes once you hit a certain age - all of us do”, while omitting the fact that with proper diet and exercise, the condition can be avoided.

Dr Cullins knows that one can remain free of the human papillomavirus – along with every other sexually transmitted infection - without taking a lifelong vow of chastity. One simply has to delay sexual behavior, find someone who also waited, and then remain monogamous. She knows that couples fortunate enough to have done so will be forever free of genital warts, blisters, discharges and abnormal Pap tests; they are spared the awkward sharing of “sexual histories”; what to tell and when; doctor’s appointments and medications; getting poked, swabbed, stuck, and biopsied; and always wondering: Am I getting another outbreak? Will I give warts to my spouse? Will the virus affect my baby?

If Planned Parenthood was genuinely committed to reproductive health and accurate information, here’s what Dr. Cullins would have said on YouTube:

Sexually transmitted infections are 100% avoidable. Your sexual behavior, including your partner choice, will determine the risk to your health. The following factors place you at high risk for HPV, even with 100% condom use:

-Being a sexually active teen girl, or any male who has sex with other males

-Initiating sexual behavior at a young age,

-Having multiple partners,

-Having sex with someone who has had multiple partners.

Other facts you need to know about this virus:

-Smoking and/or use of hormonal contraceptives may increase the risk of HPV infection in teen girls.

-Unlike girls, guys are not routinely screened for HPV. So even if his STD testing came back negative, a guy can unknowingly give you this virus, even if he uses a condom.

-HPV can be transmitted during oral sex, and can cause cancers of the throat.

Any sex educator who omits these facts is not providing comprehensive, medically accurate information. Far from empowering young people and their parents, omitting these points gives people a false sense of security, and the consequences are disastrous. Trust me, I’ve seen it all play out in my office - that’s why I embarked on this mission.

As for Vanessa Cullins’ assertion that “all of us get it”: Speak for yourself, doctor. You must live in a bubble, where everyone you know engages in high risk behaviors. Those of us outside that bubble know there are plenty of people with wonderful, satisfying sexual lives who are free of infection, disease, and worry.

This is the question the country must answer: who will educate our children about staying healthy? Do we want our kids to join Dr. Cullins in the Planned Parenthood bubble?

If your doctor declared, “expect to get diabetes, we all do”, you’d fire her. When a Sex Ed “expert” says, “expect to get a STI”, it’s time to send her a pink slip. Otherwise, the claim “we all get it” will come closer and closer to being the truth.