“I Have Sex” — students speak out against ideological attack on Planned Parenthood
March 18, 2011 MIDDLETOWN, CT — A student-produced video with the title — “I have sex” — has inspired young people across America to speak out in favor of reality-based policy making, and against ideologically-based budget cuts targeting Planned Parenthood. The original video, made by students at Wesleyan University, has been viewed 237,000 times in its first week. Follow-up videos have now been produced at Bard College, Oberlin College, Elmira College, in Trumansburg, NY, and from American students studying in Equador and France, thanks to social networking, primarily on Facebook.
Conservative bloggers and right wing media holdings have attacked the students as brainwashed degenerates. But Susan Park of Wesleyan University said, “We must grasp the reality that cutting spending for family planning organizations like Planned Parenthood neither relieves the budget deficit nor reduces the amount of abortions in this country. [The House of Representatives vote to defund it] is a purely political assault that keeps us from basing decisions on sound fiscal policy and from addressing the real source of the deficit. We need to ask why the people are paying for the consequences of corporate tax loopholes and subsidies.”
The students feel that Planned Parenthood has been unfairly characterized as a source of abortion services. In truth, Planned Parenthood provides affordable forms of birth control and contraceptives, sex-ed programs, free cancer screenings, pap smears, gynecological exams, free STI and STD testing and other crucial health services. Taking such things away would lead to more abortions, not less, they say.
Meredith Diamond of Oberlin College saw the Wesleyan video on Facebook, and got involved when she learned that classmates at Oberlin were doing the same. “Whenever I’ve gone to Planned Parenthood, they haven’t encouraged anything or discouraged anything. They just provide information and some options so people can make informed decisions with their families or their partners. It does not encourage promiscuity.”
Sarah Louis of Bard College said, “The purpose of this project is to keep America safe, secure, and educated. The best part of the process was the enthusiasm and solidarity that my fellow Bardians expressed — it was a project that united us and made us all feel proud for being involved.”
Jacob Eichengreen of Wesleyan, said, “Planned Parenthood provides us, young and old, with the resources and knowledge to make our own responsible and safe decisions regarding our sexual activity, thereby doing much more to ensure every pregnancy is wanted, and thereby decreasing the need for abortions than any federally-funded abstinence only program.”
The students site a study by the Guttmacher Institute found that for every dollar spent on comprehensive family planning and sexual education services (like Planned Parenthood) more than four dollars are saved in other services. STDs, undetected cancers, and health care and welfare costs for families who accidentally had children before they could provide for them are much more expensive than providing people with services they can access on their own initiative to stay informed and responsible.
Olivia Alperstein of Wesleyan said, “If the Congress truly wants to balance the budget, they should address corporate tax dodging, loopholes, and tax breaks that are on the order of billions of dollars, not small, yet effective social programs on the order of millions of dollars.”
The original video was the result of a brainstorming session with Coffee Party founders Annabel Park & Eric Byler following a screening of their film, 9500 Liberty. Byler filmed this video as Park described the work of UK Uncut and US Uncut to bring attention to the fact that budget deficits are the direct result of unpaid taxes, and tax policy that allows large corporations to avoid paying taxes, and not the fault of hard-working Americans.