Graphic by Ali Levens
Following an alert from an anti-abortion organization, Pepperdine University officials removed Planned Parenthood as a resource from the Pepperdine Resource, Youth Diversion and Education (PRYDE) website.
Students for Life Action reached out May 27 via letter requesting Pepperdine’s administration, along with other Christian-affiliated colleges and universities, break ties with the United States’ largest abortion provider to “uphold their Christian values,” according to Katie Lodjic, National Field Director for Students for Life Action.
Danny DeWalt, Pepperdine’s vice president and chief of staff, agreed to remove the link June 4, Lodjic wrote in an email.
The PRYDE program is a group of “commonly referred outside programs/agencies” listed on the Graduate School of Education and Psychology’s website. It can be used as a source for many services, such as drug/alcohol inpatient and outpatient treatment centers, local shelters and transports, and victim services. Prior to the notification, Planned Parenthood was listed under the parenting referrals section.
According to the Planned Parenthood website, in addition to abortions, the organization offers wellness treatments, primary care and trans care; birth control and emergency contraception; breast and cervical cancer screening; HIV, HPV, STI and UTI testing and treatments; pregnancy testing, options and ultrasounds; and vasectomies.
The University does not endorse programs listed on the PRYDE website, according to a University statement sent to The Graphic on June 16; rather, they are only listed as a convenience for students.
“PRYDE emphasizes education, family involvement, and community support to give youth tools and opportunities to accomplish their goals,” the University wrote, adding that the list of programs serves as a convenience to “provide education, counseling, and referral services.”
Lodjic wrote that the campaign to remove this resource is part of the Student for Life Action’s Industry Impact Pillar to “distance the nation’s number-one abortion vendor from campuses where they use their influence to expand their abortion business rather than acting in women’s best interests.”
In the time since the organization reached out to over 70 different colleges and universities, 12 Christian campuses have agreed to withhold Planned Parenthood from their student resources site.
“College-aged women are the target of the abortion industry,” Lodjic wrote. “By removing Planned Parenthood, […] we are cutting off the abortion industry’s access to their target population. Therefore, by getting colleges to remove Planned Parenthood from campus, we are saving women and pre-born children from abortion, and we are also encouraging schools to live out the values they profess, protecting the defenseless and innocent.”
According to a 2015 graph from kff.org, 20- to 29-year-olds in the United States receive nearly 60% of the legal abortions, with 30- to 39-year-olds holding the next highest percentage of 28%.
Students for Life Action also wrote that “young women would know that there were better options than abortion,” but none are listed in the article or on the organization’s website.
Sarah Stone Watt, associate professor of communication and divisional dean of Communication at Pepperdine, has researched “controversy over the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s decision to remove their funding from Planned Parenthood at a time of heightened political pressure surrounding abortion,” Stone Watt wrote in an email June 26.
Stone Watt wrote that an alternative to Planned Parenthood is Ohana Health, located in Thousand Oaks. Ohana Health offers free services such as pregnancy and STI testing, breast exams, pap smears, ultrasounds, counseling and parenting classes.
The Pepperdine Health Center provides similar services, such as: pregnancy tests; wellness exams; HIV prevention services; birth control or contraception; preconception and pregnancy counseling; and treatment for gynecological infections, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), premenstrual syndrome (PMS), STIs and UTIs.
The New York Times reported June 29 that the Supreme Court overruled an anti-abortion law that would have gotten rid of all but one abortion clinic in Louisiana.
Contact Ali Levens: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Past Graphic coverage of Planned Parenthood: