A few days ago, I wrote an entry in which I suggested that the forces of “choice” aren’t quite as dedicated to civil liberties as they’d like us to believe. Now I find another example in the pages of a manifesto recently produced by the International Planned Parenthood Federation. This document calls for mandatory sex education for everyone aged 10-24 worldwide. Mandatory–that’s a great word for the freedom-loving folk at Planned Parenthood.
Of course, the organization knows best what sort of sex education should be provided to this fourteen-year swath of humanity: their sort of sex education, full of abortion-as-a-right, safe-sex, and a host of contraceptive choices (many of which, not coincidentally, provide Planned Parenthood with is revenue stream).
When I was twenty-four, I had two children and zero diseases. While I wouldn’t say that I had sex completely figured out by that time, it was clearly working for me. All of this despite having zero formal sex education. Planned Parenthood probably sees me as an abject failure.
What troubles me most about their proclamation is its attitude toward religious belief.
Young people’s sexuality is still contentious for many religious institutions. Fundamentalist and other religious groups — 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 and limited guidelines for sexual education often focus on abstinence before marriage (though evidence shows this strategy has been ineffective in many settings). The reality is, young people are sexual beings and many of them are religious we well. There is a need for pragmatism, to address life as it is and not as it might be in an ideal world.
In reality, of course, sexuality is contentious to the Planned Parenthood crowd as well. The difference is that they are contending for a different view of sexuality. Although Planned Parenthood would proudly wave a pro-choice flag, they apparently do not believe in a parent’s right to choose how to educate their children. They do not believe in the right of a religious community to choose traditional sexual morality or to pass that morality on to its young. They believe in choice so long as it is their choice, the right choice.
Planned Parenthood is simply another in a long line of would-be authoritarian surrogates. They do not really want to free the world from tyranny. They see traditionalists as the wrong tyrants and want to nominate themselves as the right tyrants. I’m pro-choice on this question, and I choose no tyrants at all.