A school board has come under attack by the religious organization, Christians Against Sex, CAS, for its approach to dealing with the high rate of pregnancies in the district. In their board meeting of February 15th 2010 it was noted that 20 students had become pregnant and had to leave school to have babies. This included students in grades 9 through 12.
Board member Marcia Helmsley lamented the loss of family values by the introduction of Planned Parenthood's advocacy of birth control and abortion services into the school district. "We have lost our moral bearings as a nation when we see our children being encouraged to use birth control by our own schools."
The issue of student pregnancy was the primary topic of concern at the meeting. The differing approaches to the solution of the problem produced heated debate among the board members. There was mixed opinion with some wanting to continue with the Planned Parenthood approach of offering birth control and health services along with counseling. Others were fervently opposed to Planned Parenthood's methods and philosophy.
Helmsley, a founding member of CAS, was a vocal opponent of the Planned Parenthood approach. "Do we want to give tacit approval to our children for having sex by offering them birth control and abortion services? By making birth control and abortion available to them we are saying loud and clear, go ahead."
Board Chairman Mark Joy cited the epidemic proportions of sexually transmitted infections in the school district. "Twenty-five percent of the student body has been treated for sexually transmitted diseases ranging from Chlamydia through the entire spectrum including herpes and HIV."
Helmsley, the mother of a pregnant teenaged daughter, countered saying: "They shouldn't be having sex. If they stopped having sex they would solve the problems." She went on to promote an approach based on teaching abstinence and purity.
Faith Loss challenged this as unworkable citing a recent report by the Guttmacher Institute which showed that nearly half of all teens between the ages of 15 and 19 had reported being sexually active. "Also, she said, "there are nearly 19 million new cases of sexually transmitted infections in the U.S. each year and 48% of these occur in persons between the ages of 15 and 24."
Helmsley countered saying: "If they didn't have sex they won't get pregnant and they won't get sick."
Loss asked her how she would convince them to stop doing what comes naturally to them. Helmsley responded: "We need to give these children values they can live with. The first step is to get them to church and get them converted to the Lord Jesus. Once these children are converted they will be able to control these vile urges. Saying it is natural doesn't make it right."
Chairman Joy adjourned the board meeting after Helmsley approached Loss in a threatening manner and began screaming in her face about all the babies she had killed by promoting Planned Parenthood.
After the meeting Loss spoke with this reporter: "Religious nutcases get on my nerves. They call me a baby killer when I want to stop teen pregnancy as much as they do. Sometimes abortion is the necessary option. They just don't think through there own belief system. I spoke with Pastor Erikman of Faith Temple about this and asked him what happens when a baby dies and does not have faith in Jesus. He told me that until a child reaches an age old enough to have faith if it dies the Lord takes it right to heaven to be with Him.
"I began to think if these children I am accused of murdering go to heaven instead of ending up with fetal alcohol syndrome or abused isn't that better?"
I met up with Helmsley in the parking lot where she was in a heated discussion with chairman Joy. I broached the idea Loss had left with me to both of them.
Joy answered that it sounded reasonable, but that as a professional he could not involve sectarian religious beliefs with school district issues.
Helmsley replied: "Don't try to use logic with me. I know my bible. If I have to live here in this god forsaken country they do to. We all have to suffer."
A board meeting to continue to address the problem was scheduled for next Thursday. Joy said to me: "I hope that is enough time for them to come to their senses. This is a real problem and we need real solutions."