Thousands of pro-life Christians in Chattanooga, Tennessee are mobilizing in opposition to Planned Parenthood’s plans to encourage sex and abortions among young people in their city.
But one pastor has joined the abortion chain in support of its work.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports Brandon Gilvin, the senior minister at First Christian Church, participated in a news conference Wednesday with local Planned Parenthood employees to promote their work.
“We’re called to speak truth in all things and not to bear false witness,” Gilvin said, according to the report. “And I’ve been disappointed by misinformation that has been spread in our community by other people of faith and other clergy, especially when that misinformation can put other people at risk.”
Chattanooga has not had an abortion facility in almost three decades. Earlier this year, however, pro-life advocates learned that the Planned Parenthood abortion chain created two new staff positions, community organizer and health educator, in their city.
Kamari Sharard, who was hired to be the community organizer, said Wednesday that her job includes teaching young people and adults about sex, birth control, abortion, consent, STIs, healthy relationships, abstinence and more, according to the local news.
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“I’m excited to be a part of the force that is shifting culture in our city to empower us to openly talk about sex, abortion, consent, healthy relationships, so we can break down stigma and build a community where we support and hold each other,” Sharard said.
As a pastor, Gilvin said he believes Planned Parenthood will provide a needed service similar to the sex education counseling that his own church provides, the report states.
He said young people deserve “comprehensive, honest and non-judgmental sex education” that prepares them to make good decisions about being sexually active when they are “mature and responsible.”
But parents and former abortion industry workers said the abortion chain does the opposite. Monica Cline, a former Planned Parenthood sex education volunteer, said Planned Parenthood views abstinence as “laughable” and discourages parental involvement.
Parents also have expressed outrage after seeing the materials that Planned Parenthood provides to young students in public schools. Earlier this summer, for example, middle school students in Tacoma, Washington received a Planned Parenthood flyer that promoted sex to 11-year-olds and told them that they could get an abortion without a parent’s knowledge.
Planned Parenthood also tells children that promiscuity is ok. “There’s nothing bad or unhealthy about having a big number of sexual partners,” it tells students on its Tumbler page. Its booklet for HIV-positive youth, “Healthy, Happy and Hot,” states that it is their “human right” to not tell their sexual partner that they have HIV.
In Chattanooga, many parents and pro-life advocates are speaking out against the abortion chain’s plans.
Candy Clepper, president of Greater Chattanooga Right To Life, told Tennessee Conservative News that she believes Planned Parenthood is introducing itself into their community to sell abortions.
“Their entire business model is built around maximizing their abortion business,” she said. Planned Parenthood does about 40 percent of all abortions in the U.S. Last year, it reported performing more than 350,000 abortions.
According to the Free Press, Calvary Chapel Chattanooga also is leading the effort. Its petition opposing Planned Parenthood’s work in the city has more than 2,600 signatures so far. Find the petition here.
“We want to maintain our conservative values and continue to put the emphasis on families, to educate their children in sexual health and allow parents to make the decisions for when it is time to have the more detailed conversations regarding gender and sexuality at home,” the petition states.
The school district issued a statement earlier this summer saying it does not work with Planned Parenthood or use its sex education curriculum.
Numerous communities have rejected Planned Parenthood as a sex education teacher. The Massachusetts legislature rejected a bill in 2017 that recommended Planned Parenthood’s middle school sex education curriculum. Parents said the program teaches children as young as 12 “how to perform oral and anal sex.”
Concerned parents in Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, California, Washington state, New York, North Carolina and other parts of the country also have protested Planned Parenthood’s involvement in their students’ education in the past several years.
According to CBS News, North Carolina parents said Planned Parenthood’s “Get Real” curriculum “encourages sixth graders to feel ‘comfortable and ready’ for sex. The petition says the curriculum provides flash cards outlining proper condom usage, for ‘vaginal, oral or anal sex’ and recommends the usage of ‘non-microwavable saran wrap’ as a prophylactic for certain non-reproductive sex acts.”
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