March 08. 2014 11:17PM
Planned Parenthood funds S&M Web video
By MICHAEL COUSINEAU
New Hampshire Union Leader
MANCHESTER - A video funded by Planned Parenthood of Northern New England discussing bondage and sadomasochism is coming under fire for its subject matter.
"They're offering information on what is really a violent act and making it acceptable to young people," said Bryan McCormack, executive director of Cornerstone Policy Research & Cornerstone Action, which promotes strong families and limited government.
Planned Parenthood said it is using private donations - not government funds - to pay for a series of sexual education videos, including one titled "Getting Kinky - BDSM 101."
"BDSM stands for bondage and discipline, domination and submission, sadism and masochism," said the female narrator during the 4½-minute video.
"People sometimes think that those who practice BDSM are emotionally scarred or they were once abused. Not true. It's a total myth," she said. "People across the spectrum with various backgrounds participate in BDSM."
Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, which encompasses New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont, received $2.75 million in government funds, or 15 percent of its total budget, in 2012, the latest year available.
The BDSM video, which was posted on the Internet in 2012, shows no sexual activity or nudity. It includes five "general rules," including setting boundaries beforehand and choosing a "safe word" either party could say to stop their activities.
In response to questions from the New Hampshire Sunday News, Meagan Gallagher, president and CEO of PPNNE, said in a statement that her organization is committed to helping people make good choices and engage in healthy behavior.
"We work with parents, members of the community and organizational partners every day to reach people with information about healthy relationships and sexuality, as well as the importance of protecting themselves against both unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections," she said.
"PPNNE's education program uses a range of tools to provide sexual health information on current topics, including an innovative social education program called A Naked Notion that offers accurate and frank information intended to help people stay safe and healthy," she said. "This privately funded program offers medically accurate, trusted sex education, delivered with a peer-to-peer approach."
The videos, 51 produced so far, are part of A Naked Notion YouTube series and are not hosted on the Planned Parenthood website, but an independent URL at anakednotion.org, according to Gallagher. The Planned Parenthood website, however, does provide a link to the video series, which has 23,000 YouTube followers and about 1.8 million views.
► Planned Parenthood of Northern New England's 'Naked Notion' Web page. (NOTE: This page contains links to content some may consider objectionable).
Gallagher said the videos represent less than 20 percent of the organization's current $186,000 budget for education programs.
Gallagher said "we created content designed to educate adult viewers on the difference between consensual sexual activity and abuse to help viewers stay safe and healthy." The 2012 annual report said "young people took notice" of the video series.
Other video topics include titles such as "Meeting the Parents" and "Does Size Matter?" At least a few videos contained the F-word.
The narrator in the video "Posting Nude Pics?" listed reasons, pro and con, on whether viewers should text or post nude photos of themselves online and recommended that if they do, to not include their face or identifiable marks. She said for those younger than 18, it was illegal to post nude photos.
"And, of course, I think the biggest factor here (not to post), is the possibility that it will resurface and hurt you in the future," the narrator said.
Sen. Lou D'Allesandro, a Planned Parenthood supporter, said he thinks educating young adults on sexual education is important, but he said he would oppose using any government funds to produce the videos.
"Kids are going to have sex," said D'Allesandro, D-Manchester. "They get a high libido at that stage of their life, and they should be told what the consequences are. How you do those things and things of that nature are important. We can't cast a blind eye. Things are going to happen and should be done in a safe manner, and people should be aware of the consequences."
In 2012, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England served 43,803 clients at its 21 health centers across Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, for a total of 66,032. Its annual report said 39 percent of its services were for testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, 33 percent for contraception, 16 percent for cancer screening, 9 percent for pregnancy testing and 3 percent for abortions.
McCormack criticized Planned Parenthood for receiving tax dollars and said the videos are "throwing violence into a mix" of discussion about sex.
Greg Moore, state director for Americans for Prosperity, a grassroots group promoting limited government and more freedom, said he would have objected to the videos if government funds had been used to make them.
"Our focus is when there are taxpayer resources being used on these," Moore said.
"Ultimately, it's up to Planned Parenthood to worry about their brand and the potential damage they may be doing to do it," he said.
"They do have to be accountable to the public they serve," Moore said. "It's their brand on the line that produces a video that may offend individuals."