(Photo: REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)
Planned Parenthood of the greater Orlando, Fla.,-area is receiving federal grant money to promote the Health and Human Services (HHS) SIHLE program that teaches safe-sex practices to girls ages 14 to 18.
The HHS Office of Adolescent Health initiative targets "sexually experienced African American adolescent girls," who claim to have engaged in sex within the past six months. The program lures girls in by offering free condoms, gift cards, a free birth control consultation at Planned Parenthood, gift bags, sunglasses, food, candy and a weekly drawing for a free hairstyle at a local salon.
Planned Parenthood of Orlando received a taxpayer-funded SIHLE grant from the HHS to encourage girls who live in the following zip codes to participate in the program: 32808, 32811, 32818, 32835, 32839. The classes on safe-sex practices and condom use are held two Saturdays a month for a total of four classes. Upon graduation, the girls are again enrolled in a monthly drawing for a free hairstyle, and they receive a $20 to $25 gift card. The SIHLE program also provides free transportation services for participants who attend the course.
SIHLE, pronounced (See-Lay), is an acronym for "Sistas Informing, Healing, Living, and Empowering," and seeks girls who want to be part of a "family" and "know how to handle their business," according to the website.
Participants are asked to take a short online survey, and to allow SIHLE to send them text messages and connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.
Patricia Adelufosi, a recruitment coordinator for Planned Parenthood's SIHLE program in Orlando, Fla., told The Christian Post in an interview on Thursday that the program has been a success among girls who live in the targeted areas since it started in September 2012.
"We're getting our numbers where they need to be," Adelufosi said. "The goal is to enroll 100 to 110 girls from all of the zip code areas. They're spreading the word; and even want their principal to make an announcement about the program," she said, adding that the program teaches both abstinence and safe-sex practices.
Adelufosi said most of the SIHLE participants walk into the class without having knowledge about the various ways they can contract sexually transmitted infections, and the program steps in to provide that information.
Rachel Burgin of Florida Right to Life believes that Planned Parenthood's participation in the SIHLE program is "very dangerous."
"Planned Parenthood is the largest provider of abortion in the country," Burgin said. "This program is targeted specifically toward African American girls in these specific communities."
Burgin said she would like to know why the HHS is targeting girls in these specific areas, opposed to "addressing everyone as a whole," and providing adolescents with effective abstinence programs.
"There are very important programs that teach abstinence that have been cut," she said, reiterating her concern that Planned Parenthood is the provider and that it's being funded by HHS. "There are a total of five zip codes of girls that can participate. Seventy percent of those neighborhoods are all African American. Why is the HHS is targeting girls in these specific zip codes?"
She continued, "Planned Parenthood is a billion-dollar abortion business that receives money to target minorities. All taxpayers should be extremely concerned about targeting a specific group."
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the goal behind the SIHLE program is to reduce sexual risk behaviors among African American girls. This includes teaching girls, 14 to 18, about reducing the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy; providing girls with information about HIV prevention; promoting consistent condom use and correct condom use; and teaching girls how to negotiate safer sex, and to have fewer sex partners.
The HHS's "Pregnancy Prevention Intervention Implementation Report" for the SIHLE program found that among participants: "The study found no statistically significant program impacts on self-reported pregnancy," one year after girls participated in the intervention program. And although adolescents who participated in the intervention were "less likely to have a chlamydia infection." There was no impact on gonorrhea or trichomonas infections. If left untreated, trichomonas is a disease that can increase a person's risk of contracting HIV.