In response to the conservative drive to shut down Planned Parenthood over the last month, students at Wesleyan University made a video called “I Have Sex” in which they underline the value of Planned Parenthood’s family planning and disease prevention services. The video has taken off on the web and has inspired students at universities around the country to make their own versions.
“Hey America. We are your youth. And we have something to say,” say the students on camera, rattling off a list of reasons to visit Planned Parenthood. “I have sex. I plan to have sex. My friends have sex. I don’t have sex but I have periods. I use birth control. I have been tested. I have sex and I enjoy it. Do you have sex? I don’t have sex but I plan to. Do you plan to? That’s your reality. Young Americans have sex. Young Americans think about sex. Young Americans ask about sex. Young Americans use birth control…. and we vote. For people who treat us like adults.”
The student video campaign is further evidence that anti-abortion conservatives may have overstepped this year in targeting Planned Parenthood. The organization has provided contraception and disease screenings and consultations to tens of millions of college-aged Americans across the political spectrum in the last decade. One in five American adult women will have visited a Planned Parenthood in the course of their lifetime. Americans know that abortions are a minor service provided by the organization. Many Americans also know that federal money does not pay for the abortions that Planned Parenthood performs.
A comment by user “dbbonecrusher” under the video at YouTube has been promoted 53 times in the last two days.
“When I was a teen I was responsible as I could be,” bonecrusher writes. “I started taking birth control at age 14 to regulate my period and a little later on for sex. I received free condoms as well and used them. I also got tested for stds and cancer. Without federal funding there is no way I would of been able to pay for that. I am still on birth control at the age of 20 and I pay for it at a very reduced price. There is no way I could pay for it in full price. Despite what MTV says, Teen moms aren’t cool.”
The Wesleyan video reportedly was born out of a screening of the documentary 9500 Liberty when the filmmakers and progressive Coffee Party founders Annabel Park and Eric Byler met with students. 9500 Liberty centers on illegal immigration police policies put in place in Prince William County, Virginia. The film documents the divisions and economic hardships the new policies visited upon residents.
The Republican majority voted into the House last November has placed top priority on controversial anti-abortion legislation that would strip funding for reproductive services and abortions even in the case of rape and incest. The legislation originally sought to redefine rape as only assaults that could fall under the vague category “forcible” but sponsors retracted that section in response to public outcry. The bills would also empower the IRS to investigate women who have abortions to see how they paid for the abortions and how they became pregnant. The bills target Title X funds that support low-income women’s health services provided to many college students.
Wesleyan students quoted by the Coffee Party blog promoting the video question the priorities of the lawmakers behind the anti-Planned Parenthood campaign.
“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,” said Wesleyan’s Susan Park. “This 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.”
Conservative bloggers have attempted to dismiss the “I Have Sex” video as conveying fringe sentiment.
The Fox Nation campus blog simply posted the video under the headline “I Have Sex – Left-Wing Students Back Planned Parenthood,” reporting nothing about the video or the people who made it.
The Fox Nation line may be a tough sell for the under 65 crowd. “Right-wing” students have sex, too, of course. They also visit and support Planned Parenthood. Some of them may even be appearing in new editions of the “I Have Sex” YouTube campaign cropping up across the nation.