Operation Rescue targeted schools with graphic anti-abortion campaigns in U.S. cities last year. The Pro-Choice Public Education Project (PEP) is running television ads in 370 cities to counter Operation Rescue’s message. The ads will be broadcast on MTV.
The one-year-old organization is comprised of nearly 50 pro-choice groups. PEP seeks to correct the misinformation in “abstinence-only” sex education, which teaches medically unsound “facts” such as that sex outside of marriage will likely cause permanent mental and physical damage. This campaign was signed into law last year, with $50 million going to states to teach abstinence programs in schools. Recent studies have shown that sex education and availability of contraception has no impact on the number of teens having sex. In fact, the more knowledgable a teen is, the more likely s/he is to use protection such as condoms. Abstinence-only education does not include discussions on birth control or STDs, even though the U.S. teen prgnancy rate is eight times higher than in comparable European countries. AIDS is the sixth leading cause of death for 15 to 24- year-olds, who make up half of all new AIDS cases.
The MTV ads, which are expected to reach over 5 million households, will include a 1-800 number for people to call for information, and a Web site address to visit. PEP’s campaign goals are to provide health and sex education and create public discourse. They stress “the importance of responsible and informed sex decision making, the urgency of practicing safe sex, the need for universal access to contraception and sex education, and the crucial understanding that prevention is the first choice.”
The Feminist Majority Foundation is part of the steering committee for the Pro-Choice Public Education Project.