Planned Parenthood Web Site Warns Teens About STDs

July 7, 2008 - 7:03 PM

(CNSNews.com) - Seeking to address a variety of sexual health topics "in a fun and creative way," Planned Parenthood is attempting to educate teenagers who visit its website on such sensitive issues as sexually transmitted diseases, abstinence, birth control, HIV infection, sexual orientation and body image.

Launching the new program on teenwire.com, Planned Parenthood's website, cartoon character "Farmer Tina" takes viewers on a tour of her petting zoo.

Besides ducks, cows and pigs, "Farmer Tina" warns viewers that "sometimes nature gives us things we don't want," such as sexually transmitted infections, including "Herpes," "Gonorrhea," "Genital Warts," "Syphilis" and "HIV" - hideous critters in a pen of their own.

People having sex without a condom, "Farmer Tina" warns, can catch all of these.

Site visitors who take a quiz learn they can contact STDs through intercourse and "outercourse," which refers to a variety of sexual activities other than vaginal intercourse, including deep kissing and masturbation.

Outercourse can greatly reduce the risk of many sexually transmitted infections, "unless body fluids are exchanged through oral sex or anal intercourse."

This is one of seven new animated quiz games being launched this week on Planned Parenthood's website. A different game will be posted every Tuesday for the next seven weeks, the group said in a release.

"These games provide a unique way to engage teens, who need access to sexuality information in order to make responsible choices about their sexual health," web content editor Kim Jack Riley said.

"Educators can use these games in their classrooms as a way to convey sexuality information in a humorous but efficient way," Angela DeLuca, a Planned Parenthood educator in Nassau County, N.Y, is quoted as saying.

Family groups, however, condemned the site as an outlet that trivializes sex and has the effect of legitimizing and even encouraging sexual activity among an increasingly younger audience.

Wendy Wright, communications director with Concerned Women for America, the country's largest women's public policy group, said the new program was an extension of other Planned Parenthood programs that sought to portray sexual activity as something recreational.

She cited a Planned Parenthood program in Eugene, Ore., where people dressed up as sperm chased someone dressed up as an egg. Or just after the Sept. 11 attacks, Planned Parenthood in Virginia produced red, white and blue condoms, seeking to exploit patriotic sentiments.

"It's things like this that encourage sexual activity, that give the message that sexual activity is just recreation, and then when the kids suffer the consequences - sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy - that's where Planned Parenthood's big ticket items come in. The largest source of revenue for Planned Parenthood is abortions," Wright said.

Chad Hills, a teacher for the abstinence education program with Focus on the Family, also condemned the site. "What they don't realize is that 'outercourse,' and especially oral sex and any other kind of sex, is just about as dangerous as having regular intercourse," as far as exposure to STDs is concerned, Hills said.

"And of course their solution for this is the almighty condom, which the NIH [National Institute for Health] put out a report recently saying there is no evidence, other than 85 percent effectiveness against AIDS, that condoms prevent any of these STDs," he added.

"I certainly wouldn't want someone like this advising my children," Hills said.

Planned Parenthood did not return calls seeking comment. The organization said it supports "comprehensive, medically accurate sexuality education and encourages young people to delay sexual activity while providing them with accurate information about preventing unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections."

Teenwire.com was launched in 1999 and was nominated for a "Webby Award" in 2001.

E-mail a news tip to Lawrence Morahan.

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