Charlottetown, PEI – Planned Parenthood wants to re-open here after an abrupt departure 13 years ago. “If ever there was a place that needed Planned Parenthood, it’s PEI,” declared a fund raising letter circulated nationally this summer by Bonnie Johnson, the Federation’s Executive Director.
An astute BC recipient promptly faxed the letter the REAL Women’s national leaders, who alerted the PER chapter. They quickly passed the word to pro-life and other concerned groups. All hastened to arouse their members and contact the Minister of Health and Social Services.
“This kind of networking and joint effort is essential if we are to win today’s battles for life and family,” noted REAL Women’s local leaders.
The fundraising letter was criticized by pro-family groups on the island.
“We have affiliates in every other province in Canada,” the PP letter claimed. Yet their own most recent Annual Report – presumably prepared by Johnson herself – says they are organized in only seven provinces.
Johnson’s letter states, “In PEI in March, I was asked by a group of concerned citizens to investigate the possibility of opening a Planned Parenthood Affiliate.” It implies strong local support for PP.
Actually, a public meeting organized by those “concerned citizens” (i.e. members of Canadian Abortion Rights Action League, Status of Women, and the Women’s Network) drew only 34 persons, including four very interested pro-lifers.
Status of Women told reporters, “Opponents of abortion, while prominent, are in the minority.” They may convince each other, but political candidates know better. Only the NDP dares to support abortion.
The Women’s Network claimed an urgent need for PP’s birth control information “because PER has one of the country’s highest rates of teen pregnancy.” Johnson’s letter elaborated, “Their sex education programs deal with abstinence and chastity. This doesn’t work.”
Vincent McIntyre, Right to Life President, reminded government that PE1 actually has the second lowest rate of teen pregnancy in Canada. (Thanks to constant vigilance and strenuous activism by parents, the 1996-97 sex ed programs are more strongly chastity-based than ever.)
Addressing Johnson’s lament that without Planned Parenthood, young islanders are at great risk of STD’s, McIntyre noted that out of 4,200 pregnancies, zero cases of STDs were reported.
REAL Women dismissed Johnson’s claim some PEI doctors believe the cases of STDs or AIDS are higher than in other parts of the country. “More cases of AIDS in little PEI than in B.C, Ontario or the Yukon? Our doctors can count better than that!”
In March, Johnson told local reporters, “We aren’t trying to impose ourselves on the Island; we’re just waiting to see if support exists.” Yet just week later she brought to the Planned Parenthood convention in Ottawa, an Island woman who is now determined to see them established here. “Just waiting” has never been PP’s style.
While in the province, Johnson met the government officials. The Women’s Network told reporters, “Come level of government funding may be necessary to make sure Planned Parenthood is viable on the Island. It was disbanded in 1982, partly due to financial difficulties.”
That account is not entirely candid.
As local groups reminded the Health Minister, Planned Parenthood folded when the government of the day realized the strength of community objection to the organization, and withdrew funding.
Once again they urged government to reject Planned Parenthood’s approaches and proposals, to allow them no opportunity for input to programs, and to provide no encouragement in the form of government money, office space or other support.
“Our problems can be solved without Planned Parenthood,” they said.