A couple of months ago, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) began worldwide distribution of a guide for young people entitled “Healthy, Happy and Hot.” The 20-page brochure advocates the sexual and reproductive “rights” for those who are infected with HIV with an emphasis on having “fun, happy and sexually fulfilling lives.”
Before commenting on the troubling aspects of this pamphlet, let me say that my heart goes out to those who are living with HIV or the AIDS virus. Regardless of how they became infected, I believe Jesus would want us to treat them with compassion, dignity, and respect. At the same time, when the IPPF dispenses irresponsible advice in matters of life and death, it would be socially irresponsible to remain silent.
For starters, as you might expect from something produced by Planned Parenthood, this guide for young people never presents marriage as a prerequisite for sex. In fact, marriage is only mentioned once—in a somewhat negative light. Nor is there any mention of abstinence.
Rather, the brochure promotes the pursuit of sexual pleasure as the “right” of all young people. The IPPF asserts, “It’s your body. You choose what you do, when you do it, how and with whom.”
The Judeo-Christian view is radically different.
God created sex to be enjoyed by a husband and wife within the context of the life-long, monogamous commitment of marriage. Anything less than that context diminishes the wonderful gift of sex. Again, I’m not surprised that this idea of the sacredness of sex is completely missed by the IPPF. Instead, questions of morality are set aside while young people are told that “Sex is often a social activity” and that “there is no right or wrong way to have sex. Just have fun, explore and be yourself!” About the only moral judgment that the IPPF makes regarding sex is this:
“It is not okay to have sex with someone who is so drunk or high that they are staggering, incoherent or have passed out.”
A second concern pertains to the way the IPPF denounces what’s known as sexual “disclosure” laws. These laws are designed to protect unsuspecting participants who enter into a sexual relationship with someone infected by the HIV virus. They write:
“Some countries have laws that say people living with HIV must tell their sexual partner(s) about their status before having sex, even if they use condoms or only engage in sexual activity with a low risk of giving HIV to someone else. These laws violate the rights of people living with HIV by forcing them to disclose or face the possibility of criminal charges.”
Rather than affirm the role that disclosure laws play in the prevention of the spread of HIV, the guide states, “Young people living with HIV have the right to decide if, when, and how to disclose their HIV status. You know best if and when it is safe for you to disclose your status.”
Think about that for a moment.
Why doesn’t the IPPF take the side of the uninfected?
Why doesn’t the IPPF encourage someone with HIV to be truthful and upfront when they are about to engage in this most intimate experience? Isn’t that lack of honesty a form of betrayal? Furthermore, why is the IPPF so dedicated to the rights of a young person with HIV who desires to experience a few moments of pleasure? Wouldn’t it make more sense to guard against the very real possibility that the virus—for which there is no known cure—could be passed to another person?
Here’s how the guide answers some of those questions:
“There are many reasons that people do not share their HIV status. They may not want people to know they are living with HIV because of stigma and discrimination within their community. They may worry that people will find out something else they have kept secret, like they are using injecting drugs, having sex outside of a marriage or having sex with people of the same gender.”
There’s an interesting irony in all of this secrecy.
On one hand, food manufacturers are required by law to disclose their ingredients on the package of everything they sell. Why? To protect those who are allergic to gluten or peanuts or other food-related allergies which, in some cases, can lead to a deadly reaction. Jean and I appreciate that since one of our boys cannot safely consume certain foods.
On the other hand, the IPPF is encouraging young people to withhold information that could save a life. Why? Because according to the guide: “Young people living with HIV have the right to sexual pleasure” [emphasis added]. In other words, pleasure trumps the truth.
A further irony is found in their stated goal:
“IPPF works towards a world where women, men and young people everywhere have control over their own bodies, and therefore their destinies. A world where they are . . . free to pursue healthy sexual lives without fear of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.”
How is such freedom possible when a young person has sex with someone who is withholding information that could cost them their life?
Here’s the good news for youth.
I realize sexual abstinence until marriage is difficult in this day and age. And yet, abstinence before marriage and faithfulness within marriage, removes all fear of contracting HIV or any other sexually transmitted disease. Patience has it’s reward. Saying “no” to premarital sex and “yes” to God’s guidelines regarding sex can save their life and prepare them for true pleasure.
That’s the message we ought to be promoting to teens today.