By Brielle Budroe
Regardless of one’s religion, an internship with Planned Parenthood persists as an excellent opportunity for anyone whose passions lie in women’s health, health care access, sex education, and universal reproductive rights.
Nevertheless, Christian schools are in a delicate position offering students this particular internship. Historically and up to the present, Planned Parenthood has received backlash from conservatives mainly because it serves as a site for women to receive abortions. Last September, a student at Texas Christian University acquired an internship with Planned Parenthood. The internship was not received well by the university’s surrounding conservative community. The contenders were outraged that a Christian university would offer credit to the “largest abortion provider in the nation,” as stated in, “Should TCU offer students internships with Planned Parenthood?” an article published by the Star-Telegram.
In a phone interview with Dr. Linda Beail, professor of political science and director of
the women’s studies department at PLNU, I asked her thoughts regarding the potential
repercussions of a Christian school aligning itself with a controversial organization like Planned Parenthood. “Planned Parenthood is a controversial organization to a lot of people. In the evangelical world, it’s not a highly thought of popular place…but it’s a huge organization, not all operate the same…and it provides a lot of health care that isn’t related to reproductive health or abortions… so I can imagine even for a pro-life student that they could find something really important to work on.”
She also mentioned the university’s obligation in considering the student’s major and outlying purpose for engaging in a thorny type of internship. “I can imagine there could be some situations, particularly at a private university, where they could find some organization to be too incompatible,” said Beail. “On the other hand, it seems that universities, generally, have a pretty long latitude… you’d want more information than a thumbs up or thumbs down.”
As mentioned by Dr. Beail, the majority of Planned Parenthood’s services are not abortion related. There is also some debate as to whether or not Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the nation. Three percent of Planned Parenthood’s services between 2014 and 2015 were abortion-related, according to the organization’s annual report. To put this in perspective, of the 9,455,582 services provided in 2014 to 2015, abortions account for 323,999 of them.
Planned Parenthood’s primary services include testing for and treating sexually transmitted diseases, supplying contraception and cancer screening and prevention. I include these statistics in my article because I’d like to show readers and Planned Parenthood adversaries that the organization caters to a much larger and valuable scope of health-related crises. Even more importantly to consider is that nearly 2.5 million individuals, including families, rely on the organization for high-quality affordable healthcare each year. Keep in mind that the vast majority of Planned Parenthood’s clients cannot afford healthcare or specific treatments otherwise.
The main purpose of a college internship is to facilitate student learning opportunities outside of the classroom. Professors hope that students will gain an experience that they cannot achieve in a lecture hall. Prospective interns aspire to discover more about a particular career or field. Internships are about being exposed to challenges and diversity; they are an opportunity to empower one’s future self.
I’d like to think that by empowering oneself, we can slowly empower the world.
In this political climate, America is in desperate need for protecting health care access,
advancing sex education and promoting reproductive rights for men, women and LGBTQ people. Any student with ardor for this line of work should be able to pursue and receive credit for such an internship.
Annie Brown, a sophomore majoring in public health and economics at University of Washington shared her experience interning at Planned Parenthood: “The whole process has been super eye opening. Planned Parenthood is so much more than people think…it’s a super valuable resource for low income communities and basically anyone looking to receive quality health care. I really think an internship at Planned Parenthood would be beneficial for anyone. It’s also really important to realize that Planned Parenthood helps more than just women.” Though not attending a Christian university, Brown was an attendee of Laguna Presbyterian church for most of her life, partaking in mission trips and participating in the church’s weekly youth
Group. Brown is proof that an evangelical can appreciate and partake in the progress of a highly disputed organization such as Planned Parenthood, thus empowering herself and the lives around her.
Should TCU offer students internships with Planned Parenthood? can be found at http://