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Calling Planned ParenthoodPosted October 9, 2015, by Mary Grabar: (Part 1 of the series is here; part 2 here.) Alas, my requests for more information from Planned Parenthood regarding how such activities as the one I observed on September 17, 2015, at Hamilton College, as well as their national "Pink Out" Day on September 29, fit into their own or educational institutions' missions, were ignored by Beth LeGere, Director of Public Affairs, Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson, for a long time.  She finally responded to my two email messages, a telephone message, and a cell phone message with a refusal to speak to me.  As I reported last week, she demanded a retraction to a statement that was not directly attributed to her.  She admitted to encouraging students to vote, but denied encouraging them to vote for pro-choice candidates.  One of my questions to her in my email concerned how encouraging students to vote was part of the mission of an organization that is purportedly for "women's health." Certainly, a lecture about voting, its history, patterns, and historical origins would be an appropriate topic for a college campus event, especially one that requires student attendance by the professor as the September 17 Hamilton College event did (as I've recently learned). 

In her original email to Accuracy in Academia, where she read my post, Ms. LeGere iimplied that I should have identified myself at the event as a journalist.  LeGere wrote, "I would have welcomed the opportunity to be interviewed and quoted correctly. I encouraged students to register to vote but I DID NOT encourage anyone to vote for pro-choice candidates.  In incorrectly asserting that I made such an inappropriate statement, Ms. Grabar calls into question her own objectivity as a journalist and competency as an accurate reporter."

She further stated, "Any responsible journalist should print a public retraction based on the above," and "I am available to speak to Ms. Grabar should she like the opportunity to get the facts."

Yet, she will not answer my question about the appropriateness of a health organization representative encouraging students to vote.  Apparently, the "facts" go out only to those already inclined to believe her version without question.  These are the students whose professors require that they attend one-sided presentations of advocacy groups engaged in very controversial practices (like trading in fetal body parts) and funded by taxpayers.  Certainly, a debate between this group and a pro-life group would have been an appropriate campus event.  But as I described in my previous posts, Planned Parenthood was provided an exclusive forum for disseminating their views under the guise of an academic activity. 

Here is the timeline and exchange. I made initial contact on October 1, writing her an email:

Dear Ms. LeGere:

 Thank you for reading my article about your visit on September 17 to Hamilton College. . . .
 Thank you for confirming that you had encouraged students to register to vote. 
 I went to your website and found the mission statement, which I quote in full:
 Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Mission Statement: A Reason for Being

Planned Parenthood believes in the fundamental right of each individual, throughout the world, to manage his or her fertility, regardless of the individual's income, marital status, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, national origin, or residence. We believe that respect and value for diversity in all aspects of our organization are essential to our well-being. We believe that reproductive self-determination must be voluntary and preserve the individual's right to privacy. We further believe that such self-determination will contribute to an enhancement of the quality of life and strong family relationships.
Based on these beliefs, and reflecting the diverse communities within which we operate, the mission of Planned Parenthood is
to provide comprehensive reproductive and complementary health care services in settings which preserve and protect the essential privacy and rights of each individual
to advocate public policies which guarantee these rights and ensure access to such services
to provide educational programs which enhance understanding of individual and societal implications of human sexuality
to promote research and the advancement of technology in reproductive health care and encourage understanding of their inherent bioethical, behavioral, and social implications
"My question concerns how your visit to Hamilton College, especially your encouraging students to register to vote and to call Congressman Richard Hanna and ask him to vote in a way to help Planned Parenthood fits this mission statement."
I then quoted the mission statement from Hamilton College's website.
I continued: "Your visit was part of an event that was sponsored by various academic departments, such as Comparative Literature and Philosophy.  The event with Rhodessa Jones was billed as being related to the ancient Greek drama, 'Medea.'  I do not see any reference to such topics under Planned Parenthood's educational mission.
"Please explain where encouraging students to vote fits into the mission statement.
"Please send me a list of schools, K-12 and college, which you have visited."
I left her a message on her office phone on the mornings of October 5, and on her cell phone October 6.  I sent her a second email on October 6 in the afternoon.  I had additional questions:
Planned parenthood supporters"In addition to questions in my previous email, I would like to know about Planned Parenthood's 'Pink Out'day  events on college campuses, especially public colleges and in New York State.  I noticed that there was a Pink Out day event at S.U.N.Y. Geneseo.
"Would you let me know how much Planned Parenthood spent for these college campus activities (including salaries, travel expenses, materials, etc.)?"
These were all very polite.
I finally heard back from her on October 7, with a terse email message reading,
"Thank you for following up. Unfortunately, it appears we can't rely on accurate reporting from your site and must decline an interview.
"Our apologies for any misunderstanding."
Such a response confirms what I oberved on September 17: Planned Parenthood targets the most vulnerable through their allies.  In the case of Hamilton College it was through professors abusing their positions to indoctrinate students.  Once again, parents, alumni, trustees, and citizens ought to be demanding that such academic travesties stop.

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