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Jane Elmore / Contributed photo

Why is Planned Parenthood hiring a health educator to increase comprehensive sexual education to work in Chattanooga and the surrounding communities?

Let's take a minute and talk about Planned Parenthood. The most controversial service that it provides is abortions. Most of the pro-life crowd will tell you about all of the families that are waiting to adopt a child. According to AdoptUSKids.org, there are more than 120,000 children waiting to be adopted from the child welfare system.

Where are all the people who are so eager to adopt? Why do we have 120,000 children waiting to be adopted if there are couples who would "do anything to adopt a child?"

I have talked to any number of people protesting at Planned Parenthood offices. Their story is always the same: "You are murdering babies. We have a list of all these people who want to adopt," etc. When I ask them how they support the women whom they dissuade from having an abortion and choose to keep their babies, they quickly tell me they provide diapers, and cribs and so on.

I congratulate them, but then I ask if they lobby for health care, food supplements and quality education for these children. Or I ask them how they support the families as the infants become older. They become strangely mute. No, they don't do any of those things.

They appear to be only pro-birth, not pro-life. I always ask if they have fostered kids in the child welfare system, many because of unplanned or forced pregnancies. Again, none of them have fostered. Have they adopted? No, they haven't done that, either.

Research shows that comprehensive sex education is the most successful way to reduce unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. Since 95% of couples have had sex before they are married, an abstinence-only approach is out of touch with the reality of our world.

It would be great if every child had parents who provided comprehensive sex education, but they don't. Most parents are incapable or uncomfortable about having "the talk" with their children. Many children get their sexual education from pornography and/or their equally uneducated friends.

Schools are the next best option if parents don't educate their kids. But in Tennessee, the so-called "gateway law" only allows the schools to teach abstinence.

So what do we do? Continue to have girls give birth to babies that they and their partners cannot support financially, mentally or emotionally? That appears to be the plan of the pro-birth crowd. Those girls will have babies, and the number of children growing up in the child welfare system waiting for an adoptive home will continue to increase.

Planned Parenthood has hired staff in Hamilton County to do what we have not done: provide comprehensive sex education to our children. Our children will learn how to prevent pregnancy and make good choices about their sexual health.

Research demonstrates clearly that a well-educated populace will have fewer unwanted children.

Let's welcome Planned Parenthood with open arms.

Let's ensure that every child is a wanted child.

Jane Elmore was deputy director of foster care and permanency services for the Illinois State Department of Children and Family Services before she retired and moved to Chattanooga. She and her husband were also foster parents. She has two birth children and two adopted children. Both of her birth children have also adopted.

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