Two sides of Planned Parenthood debate reach out to students

Grant Cohen

Two sides of the abortion argument were on campus Friday hoping to garner support.

Students for Life of America, the nation’s largest pro-life organization, visited Wichita State on Friday in hopes of educating young generations about Planned Parenthood’s “real motives,” according to the group’s website.

Meanwhile, WSU students representing Feminists On Campus Uniting Students (FOCUS) and local representatives from Planned Parenthood decided to offer the opposing side of the Planned Parenthood argument, which recently came to a head after the Center for Medical Progress released a series of videos — which are now clouded in investigations — in an attempt to expose the organization’s operations to sell body parts of aborted fetuses.

“Planned Parenthood serves the people who had a night out gone wrong and need STI Testing,” wrote junior Marilyn Morton, president of FOCUS, in a letter to the editor, which printed in The Sunflower Nov. 9. “Planned Parenthood provides education to anyone needing guidance in navigating a healthy and happy sex life.”

When FOCUS heard Students for Life of America’s plans to come to WSU, they invited Planned Parenthood to participate, along with a local health action team. Planned Parenthood is a health care provider in the areas of reproductive health care, sex education and family planning, according to its website. 

“We heard that an organization was coming on campus spreading incorrect information about Planned Parenthood and the reproductive health of women,” said WSU junior Erendira Jimenez, a member of FOCUS. “We thought that this was a large campus and it would be detrimental to the health of students. Inviting Planned Parenthood, the goal is to provide accurate information and answer any questions that us students might not be able to answer.”

Representatives from Planned Parenthood were at the booth Friday and provided signs, flyers and trivia contests hoping to educate students about safe sexuality. 

The booth also held its own version of Jeopardy, with categories including Protection Detection; 1,2,3 Aa and P; Oh my, STI’s; and Yes, No, Maybe So. 

“We felt that the best way to counter misinformation is directly from the source,” said junior Paul Brink, a FOCUS member. “In order to help persuade [the students] on making good choices and provide accurate information, bringing people from Planned Parenthood was a good option.”

The Students for Life booth had a series of posters that said things like “Planned Parenthood sells baby parts” and “Planned Parenthood’s dirty secret.” Representatives passed out materials explaining that more than 8,000 Community Health Centers provide the same services as Parenthood, but “don’t sell abortions.”

WSU is one of 80 college campuses the organization plans to visit this year.

The group’s project hopes to “turn [young people] against the abortion Goliath (Planned Parenthood) and towards (sic) pro-life, pregnancy resource centers where they can go for honest, real help,” according to Students for Life of America’s website.

Many of the students who stopped at the Planned Parenthood booth showed interest and curiosity in how certain gadgets were used and how to use proper protection, Jimenez said.

“Overall the reactions have been very positive,” she said. “Considering that this is a Friday, when a lot of people are gone, we have had a lot of people drop by. So we are very pleased about that.”