After operating for almost a year without attracting much attention, a Planned Parenthood facility inside a Los Angeles public high school is making national news. Pro-life advocates, who regularly protest the nation's largest abortion provider at facilities around the country, were outraged to learn Planned Parenthood had managed to slip into a school virtually unnoticed.
The organization's installment on the Roosevelt High School campus is the "only one of its kind," according to a report in the Los Angeles Times. The government-funded organization provides free access to birth control, screenings for sexually transmitted diseases, counseling and pregnancy tests, along with abortion referrals, to teenage girls.
The collaboration with Roosevelt High School and the Los Angeles United School District means teens will have unlimited access to Planned Parenthood's services, all without parental consent. Officials with the school district did not respond to repeated requests for comment for this story.
Kristina Garza, a spokeswoman for the Southern California-based organization, Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust, believes students and parents deserve to know the truth about the situation.
"Planned Parenthood claims that they will reduce the number of teen pregnancies at Roosevelt High, but, in fact, they will just increase the number of pregnancies that end in abortion," she said in an interview with Stand True, a pro-life outreach program.
The school's health department began offering contraceptives and unplanned pregnancy counseling to students in 1997. After a partnership with a local hospital ended in 2008, the school no longer had the resources to offer free contraceptives. Shortly after, Medrano sought out Planned Parenthood.
The low-income community of Boyle Heights, where Roosevelt High is located, has a large Latino population and one of the highest percentages of teen mothers in the state. The school district hopes to lower the number of teen pregnancies in the neighborhood through its partnership with Planned Parenthood.
Sherry Medrano, the nurse practitioner who runs the Roosevelt health clinic, said in an interview with the Times that students can come to her staff without their parents' permission, which might make them more likely to seek help.
"They feel much safer and much more comfortable coming to a school-based health clinic," she said.
Planned Parenthood also trains Roosevelt students to promote its services to their peers by talking to fellow students about sexually transmitted diseases and emergency contraceptives, aggressive marketing tactics that alarm pro-life advocates.
"As a parent I am appalled that not only are they allowed to have a clinic on the campus but are openly using kids to market abortion and promiscuity to other kids," Bryan Kemper, director for Priests for Life Youth Outreach, another pro-life organization in Southern California, wrote on his blog. "Planned Parenthood receives hundreds of millions of our tax dollars and now they are being given front row access to our kids."
Controversy over Planned Parenthood has been mounting in recent years as a result of a series of investigative videos released by Live Action, a non-profit, pro-life organization, exposing a list of unethical dealings within the organization. Live Action's videos detailed racism, sex-selective abortions, and employees covering up child sex-trafficking at Planned Parenthood facilities.
Garza believes that Planned Parenthood circumvents the proper role of parents in students' lives by offering confidential service to minors and urges pro-life advocates to continue to show students the reality and dangers of abortion.
"Planned Parenthood cannot be trusted and must be stopped from preying on our students by setting up shop on our public schools," she said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.