Reading School District postpones sex ed decision

On June 21st, about 80 pro-life community members and Students for Life of America team leaders stood outside the Reading School District in protest of the recent proposal to introduce a sexual health counseling center into Reading High School. The center was proposed by AccessMatters in May 2017 and would be facilitated by Planned Parenthood Keystone. The center would be located inside of Reading High School, giving Planned Parenthood direct access to their target clientele (i.e. young, vulnerable students). Counselors would refer to Planned Parenthood’s local Reading clinic, where these students could access contraception and other services.

While AccessMatters claims that parents will have the option to “opt out” of condom distribution and other aspects of the program, this does little ease our minds. Planned Parenthood has a long track record of aggressively fighting against legislation that protects parent’s involvement in their children’s health decisions (e.g. Planned Parenthod of Indiana and Kentucky federal lawsuit in 2017).

Let’s not forget that in 2013 Pennsylvania health inspectors discovered that PA Planned Parenthood affiliates had a policy stating that statutory rape was not a mandated reportable incident. Should we also overlook investigations exposing Planned Parenthood staffers abiding and abetting underage sex trafficking?

What Happens in Reading Matters

The majority of pro-life representatives at yesterday’s rally were concerned parents from Reading and local Berks County pro-life advocates. However, several media paused to question why Pennsylvanians from neighboring cities and pro-lifers from other states would join this protest.

Why?! Because this is not an isolated issue. The decision of Reading School District will not only impact Reading High School but will very likely impact neighboring counties. While AccessMatters’ efforts are primarily centralized around the Philadelphia area, Planned Parenthood Keystone serves 37 counties in Eastern and Central Pennsylvania. Any access and momentum gained in Reading could potentially lead to further expansions of these programs and centers in neighboring cities and counties.

We know that Planned Parenthood’s business is abortion, and their target audience is students. Planned Parenthood affiliates in Pennsylvania perform over half of the abortions in the state. They are the leading abortion advocate and provider, and their state annual reports continue to show that over 90% of their pregnancy services (i.e. prenatal care, adoption referrals, and abortion). There is no doubt that their counseling will biased (as noted repeatedly by former Planned Parenthood works and directors) and that women and preborn children will be at risk if Planned Parenthood enters these high schools.

(The above picture shows Planned Parenthood Keystone’s regional map, provided on their website here.)

What Locals Are Saying

During the rally, local activists and religious leaders proudly declared that we are pro-life and that we refuse to allow Planned Parenthood access to our students. As we rallied, we were greeted with constant stream of friendly honks, waves, and cheers from Reading citizens. Community members stopped to thank us for our presence.

Local parents and students were outspoken in their concerns of Planned Parenthood’s influence not only in Reading but in the local community.

One of our local PA high school students shared: “We cannot support having a Planned Parenthood in our schools… Since Reading school district is so close to my school.. first Reading school district, then my school. I don’t want Planned Parenthood in my school.”

Julia Coppa, another Pro-Life Generation leader and local Pennsylvanian, said: “Planned Parenthood sets the bar too low for young people by displaying a lack of confidence in us … and discouraging us from pursuing relationships that are real and lasting versus transient things.”

A Reading parent, Renzo, attended with his wife, daughter, and other family members. “I am a member of the community here in Reading… We do not agree with Planned Parenthood in our schools.” He passionately shared his concerns about Planned Parenthood teaching and counseling his children and other students, and he spoke out against the violence of this Abortion Goliath.

The Meeting

After the rally, about 40 members of the rally joined the school district meeting. While the board decided to delay the discussion on Planned Parenthood’s proposed center, we were encouraged to hear that efforts were being made to provide flexible learning options for homebound and parenting students via the proposed Reading Virtual Academy program. Many of the pro-life advocates stayed for the duration of the meeting to stand witness to our position. While the board did not acknowledge our presence, our sea of bright blue “We Are the Pro-Life Generation” shirts could not be missed!

Good News!

Because of your concerns, your messages, and your prayers, Reading school district has postponed their decision until August. The hesitation of the district to decide on this matter leads us to conclude that the Pro-Life Generation was heard loud and clear — “We don’t need Planned Parenthood!” 

Students for Life of America’s East Coast Regional Director, Michele Hendrickson, praised the students’ and community’s efforts:

“We are so proud of the collaboration and unwavering dedication by Reading students, parents, and community leaders. We are hopeful that the delayed vote is a sign that the board members recognize Planned Parenthood’s damaged brand. Students know that they deserve better than Planned Parenthood, and we are calling on these board members to protect them from this disastrous proposal.”

Special thanks also to Berks County Republican Women, Concerned Citizens for Reading, and the Pennsylvania Family Council for their efforts educating and mobilizing local Pennsylvanians. The unity of local and national leaders was key to this campaign’s energy and success thus far.

We encourage you to continue to send your concerns to the Reading School District board members. You can call the Reading school board and email the board members. Contact information can be found here:

Watch the Live Stream

Our internet reception had some issues, but this is well worth the watch. Hear what local community members and our team had to say about this situation.

Local Alternatives

If you are a Reading community member and you are interest in non-biased, comprehensive healthcare alternatives to Planned Parenthood, we encourage you to consider your local federally qualified health center (Berks Community Health Center). For life-affirming, free pregnancy and parenting support, check out your local pregnancy support organizations (LifeLine of Berks County and Mercy Community Crisis Pregnancy Center).

  • Berks Community Health Center
    838 Penn Street, Reading, PA 19602
    Phone: (610) 988-4838
    Sliding Fee Program:
    Women’s Health Services:
    Prenatal Care:
    Free pregnancy testing is available at all of our health center locations.
    There is no need to make an appointment, and you don’t have to be a BCHC patient. You may simply walk in and request a free pregnancy test at the front desk and our staff will take care of you.
  • Lifeline of Berks County
    Phone: (610) 374-8545
    612 Reading Avenue, West Reading, PA 19611
    Services: Pregnancy Tests, Options Support, Emergency Material Aid, Maternity Clothes, Parenting Support and Preparation, Referrals (community, medical, housing, drug and alcohol counseling, etc), Breastfeeding Support, Insurance Information
  • Mercy Community Crisis Pregnancy Center
    105 S. 5th Street, Reading PA 19602
    Phone: 610-376-0828
    Services: Pregnancy Tests, Options Support, Material Aid, Peer Counseling, Referrals for Social Services, STI Information, Emergency Material Support, Parenting Education

The Planned Parenthood-Gosnell Connection

Shortly after the Kermit Gosnell verdict came out on Monday afternoon, Planned Parenthood was trying to distance themselves from the convicted murderer, tweeting:

Abortion itself is the appalling victimization of women. But what did Planned Parenthood do to make sure no woman was victimized by Gosnell when they had the chance? Absolutely nothing.

Dayle Steinberg, Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania’s president and chief executive, admitted that they knew about the terrible conditions at Gosnell’s abortion business. As reports:

Steinberg said that when Gosnell was in practice, women would sometimes come to Planned Parenthood for services after first visiting Gosnell’s West Philadelphia clinic, and would complain to staff about the conditions there.

“We would always encourage them to report it to the Department of Health,” Steinberg said as she sat with Steinem before Tuesday’s events.

They knew. They knew and they did nothing. Planned Parenthood took their money, then left these victimized women to deal with the problem on their own. They left more women to be victimized by Gosnell – for decades.

It is because of pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood’s opposition to abortion facility regulations that Gosnell’s house of horrors went without inspection for 17 years. They told women to report Gosnell to the Department of Health but, as the Grand Jury report said,

Instead, the Pennsylvania Department of Health abruptly decided, for political reasons, to stop inspecting abortion clinics at all. The politics in question were not anti-abortion, but pro. With the change of administration from Governor Casey to Governor Ridge, officials concluded that inspections would be “putting a barrier up to women” seeking abortions.

This is the fox guarding the hen house. And now Planned Parenthood is using the very same “barrier” arguments today to oppose any new safety regulations, even though that’s what allowed Gosnell to continue to operate.  They complain about “onerous” regulations like widening hallways in the new Virginia regulations, but the grand jury reports hallway regulations could have saved Gosnell victim Karnamaya Mongar and made it difficult to help other patients:

T]here might have been some slim hope of reviving Mrs. Mongar. The paramedics were able to generate a weak pulse. But, because of the cluttered hallways and the padlocked emergency door, it took them over twenty minutes just to find a way to get her out of the building.

…They discovered they could not maneuver stretchers through the building’s narrow hallways to reach the patients (just as emergency personnel had been obstructed from reaching Mrs. Mongar).

If Planned Parenthood thinks Gosnell’s crimes are “appalling,” what do they call their own facilities’ dangerous, unsanitary conditions, and practices of infanticide?  What do they call the fact that they kill 915 preborn (and maybe sometimes born) children every day?

Planned Parenthood and Gosnell share an appalling disrespect for the lives and health of women and children, the only difference is that Planned Parenthood spends millions on marketing and PR:

  • Last weekend, an ambulance was called to Planned Parenthood’s Margaret Sanger Center in New York City and photos show emergency officials hurriedly placing a young girl in an ambulance. And you know something has gone seriously wrong when an abortion facility allows an ambulance to park out front with its lights flashing, instead of asking emergency personnel to keep their sirens off and pull up in the back alley – wouldn’t want other patients to see that you’ve botched another abortion, that’s just bad for business.
  • In April, a Planned Parenthood in Delaware had to stop doing surgical abortions because of unsafe and unsanitary conditions similar to the ones found at Gosnell’s abortion facility. One nurse said of the operating room, “It’s not washed down; it’s not even cleaned off. It has bloody drainage on it.” She also said patients “could be at risk of getting hepatitis, even AIDS.” The abortion business had sent 5 women to the emergency room since January. Nurses said, “It was just unsafe. I couldn’t tell you how ridiculously unsafe it was,” and quit over concerns that they could be held liable when the next patient was harmed. Delaware is the first state since Roe v. Wade to have zero surgical abortion facilities – because 4 clinics in recent years have had to shut down due to health violations, including two Planned Parenthoods.
  • In March, a Planned Parenthood official from Florida testified that a baby born alive during an abortion should be allowed to be killed, saying, “We believe that any decision that’s made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician.” Gosnell routinely killed babies born alive after an abortion – often by cutting their spinal cords. Apparently that’s a “decision” Planned Parenthood supports being left up to “physicians” like Gosnell.
  • Last July, a Planned Parenthood in Chicago botched the abortion of Tonya Reaves and failed to seek emergency medical assistance for her for 5 1/2 hours, which ultimately led to her death. Similarly, Gosnell delayed calling 911 for his non-responsive patient, Karnamaya Mongar, who died as a result of her abortion and lack of medical treatment when things went wrong.
  • In 2008, a federally-funded New Jersey Planned Parenthood nurse told Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins that the only abortion procedure they do after 22 weeks involves inducing delivery. When she asked what happens if the baby is born alive, she was stunned when she replied simply, “It does happen, where it’s still alive…but it wouldn’t be able to survive on its own, so eventually the baby does die.” This is outright infanticide and proves it is still being practiced routinely in our nation and not just by “rogue” abortionists, as Planned Parenthood would lead you to believe.

The bottom-line is this: Kermit Gosnell is not unique. He is not the exception, he is the rule. He represents “business as usual” for Planned Parenthood and Big Abortion. Thankfully, he will never victimize another woman again, but Planned Parenthood continues on with the same appalling practices and conditions – and half a billion dollars of your tax money.

Learn more about Planned Parenthood’s dirty and corrupt practices at