Denver Planned Parenthood affiliate offers sex-ed texting

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Forget about the giggling whispers in the back of the bus or the awkward mother–daughter sex conversations. Planned Parenthood is prepared to answer all your children’s pressing sex questions — at least in Denver, where the abortion provider’s local affiliate has adopted a new program to answer sex questions via text messages.

Giving a whole new meaning to “sexting,” Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains is set to allow Denver youth to send their pressing sex questions to the organization right from their cell phones.

The program, “In Case You’re Curious,” or ICYC, is straightforward and easy for Carpal-Tunnel-prone teen texters. They simply text “ICYC” to a special number, along with their questions, and within 24 hours a “highly-trained Planned Parenthood Community Education staff member” will respond.

According to Pew Research Center statistics cited by Planned Parenthood, 75 percent of teens own cell phones and, of those, 87 percent use text messaging. Half of all teens, Pew says, send 50 or more texts daily. More than 30 percent average at least 100 texts per day.

“The program offers teens and youth in the Denver Metro area a new resource for asking sexual health questions and more importantly, getting medically accurate, age-appropriate answers to those questions,” said Alison Macklin, director of community education for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.

The abortion provider pointed out that between 2007 and 2009 there were 3,240 teen births in the Metro Denver area and that in Colorado 17 babies are born to teens every day. Forty percent of Colorado teens say they have had sex.

Not everyone is a fan of this new initiative, however. Keith Mason, president of the Denver-based Personhood USA, told The Denver Post that it is a ploy to get more teens into Planned Parenthood’s doors. (RELATED: Full coverage of Planned Parenthood)

“It’s just another extension of their abortion-marketing plan,” he said. “Just like restaurants use texts to give out coupons, this is their way of driving young people to Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion chain in America.”

Lisa Martinez, a Denver parent, told FOX31 Denver that she would prefer if her children just came to her with questions.

“I would rather a parent be able to answer the questions for their child,” said Martinez. “My daughter and I had a very open relationship. She was comfortable asking me questions. I think that is where the responsibility lies. I think your child needs to go to the parent. I’m not crazy about someone else answering questions for my child.”

The Denver affiliate of Planned Parenthood, however, is offering an outlet for kids who may be too embarrassed or nervous to ask their parents, but cannot always trust other information sources.

“ICYC is a cool program because sometimes it’s easy to believe what your friends or people on TV say about sex, but you don’t always know what is true and what is just a myth. With ICYC, you get answers that you know are true,” said Stephanie Cisneros, a Denver teen who has used the service already.

The program’s organizers explain that their answers to questions are not a substitute for medical advice. They say they often direct questioners to a Planned Parenthood website, or to health care providers.

“We’re not answering questions about positions or how to have sex,” Macklin said told FOX31. “It’s more about ‘this is what’s going on with my body’ or ‘this is what I am curious about knowing.’ We get a lot of questions about ‘is my body normal?’ We get a lot of questions about pregnancy … signs and symptoms … ‘Am I pregnant?’”

When asked the average age of teens posing questions via text messages, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains communications director Monica McCafferty told The Daily Caller that the nature of text messaging makes it impossible to know.

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