What do you get when the state of Oregon, Planned Parenthood, and pharmaceutical companies that produce contraceptives get in bed together? The Seaside Adolescent Sexuality Conference (ASC).
Marketed under the pretense of trying to prevent youth pregnancy and STD transmission, the conference, which took place earlier this week, is actually a platform for promoting a disturbing sexual agenda that has little to do with either. On the contrary, the dangerous practices urged onto Oregon youth this week by ASC workshops were basically infomercials glamorizing the habits that lead to teen pregnancy and STD transmission and then using semantics to re-package liberal messages about abortion and sexual identity.
Case in point, the following graphic comes from a pamphlet distributed at the conference by the Cascade AIDS project, encouraging teens (and younger kids) to have phone sex, take a bath together, or to give each other "hidden hickeys... that no one else will see."
The state of Oregon, apparently, has a vested interest in ensuring that promiscuity and hidden hickey exchanges flourish among the state's youth, because numerous government agencies - including the Oregon Attorney General, Oregon Department of Education, Oregon DHS, Oregon Health Authority, and the Oregon Teen Pregnancy Task Force -- came together in sponsorship of the event. But many members of the community are not so happy about their tax dollars going to a program that is diametrically opposed to their values and to the physical and psychological health of their children.
The conference, held in Seaside, Oregon, is a long-standing tradition in the town. Although the ACS is marketed to all age groups ("Youth, Adults, Teachers and Educators,") up to 30% of attendees are children unaccompanied by parents. But despite the conference's name, workshops are anything but adolescent-appropriate. Titles include:
- Strategies to Reduce Unintended Pregnancies Through the Use of Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC). One of the conference sponsors manufactures the Mirena IUD. The company's self-interest in this talk wasn't even subtle. And neither is its disregard for teen health. Far from looking out for the sexual well-being, the promotion of LARCs is a slap in the face to sexually active youth, whose lives are endangered by these methods. Even Vanity Fair Magazine - no stranger to contraception promotion - condemned the use of the vaginal contraceptive NuvaRing after research and a sting operation uncovered its deadly side-effects in young adults.
- No Glove, No Love: Condomology 411, a workshop wherein participants learned about "condom history and manufacturing" and then learned about dental dams for "safer" oral sex, lubricants, and practice condom line-ups, demos, and role plays.
- My Mom Wishes I was Lesbian - 'Coming Out' Experiences of (Bi) sexual Young Adults. Focused on young adults who occupy a "middle ground" that is not strictly gay, lesbian, or heterosexual.
- I've Got the Power. Planned Parenthood's youth-led workshop on "using power" in a relationship. The description of this workshop may be vague, but judging from's Planned Parenthood sex ed workbook, "Unequal Partners," which Students for Life of America has obtained, we know what this is about --- statutory rape, and it's sickening.
- Lessening the Taboo: Where Does Pleasure Fit into Sexual Health Education? Because graphic, gratuitous sex ed isn't enough: "This workshop will challenge participants to examine their current methods, curricula and lesson plans for ways in which they could include sexual pleasure as a topic to enhance students understanding of healthy sexual expression."
In one of its best uses of bogus semantics, the ASC's talk on abortion - the procedure that has claimed one-fourth of the generation of youth in attendance at the conference - promised to simplify the conversation about unplanned pregnancy with youth. The talk, entitled. It's Complicated: Teaching About Pregnancy Options, described abortion, parenting, and adoption as "pregnancy options."
However, we know that Planned Parenthood would never align itself with a conference where abortion was not being hailed as the best choice (unsurprisingly, since it's the only choice off of which the organization will profit).
And, oh, guess what I forgot to mention?! The presenter of that talk, Denise Johnson May, works for Planned Parenthood of Western Washington. And she is no stranger to the trend of wrapping abortion up in a pretty semantic package; she led a conference last year where medical personnel were taught "miscarriage management" methods - a tidy but misleading term for the process of vacuum aspirating a live baby out of its mother's uterus, aka committing an abortion without being a physician.
It's no surprise that the community of Seaside is outraged by the ASC. The more they learn about the conference and what it is promoting among their children and their children's teachers, the more alarming it becomes. Planned Parenthood stands to profit off of the promiscuous activity encouraged at the event; Bayer Pharmaceuticals stands to profit off of the purchase of LARCs promoted by the event; the Cascade AIDS Project benefits by promoting its liberal agenda.
But what about the youth - the group of people for whom the conference supposedly exists?
The Adolescent Sexuality Conference is sadly just another example of disingenuous companies and organizations using America's young people for their own self-interest and leaving them in the dust as they line their coffers.
But honestly, what more can you expect from organizations like Planned Parenthood, who only thrive because they treat children as disposable commodities?