by Steven Ertelt
June 19, 2007
Manchester, NH (LifeNews.com) — A YMCA official who took students at a public middle school to an abortion center has been forced to resign by the community agency. The students were part of an at-risk program YMCA coordinates with the Manchester school district and they were taken to Planned Parenthood without their parents knowing.
Harold Jordan, the YMCA’s president, told the Associated Press that employee Joyce Palmer, the group’s community outreach director, has admitted she was wrong to take the students to an abortion business.
Palmer "takes full responsibility for the decision and realizes it was inappropriate to include Planned Parenthood without the proper notification, permission and involvement of parents and the Manchester School District," he said.
Under the terms of Palmer’s resignation, she will step down at the end of the school year and a new director will be appointed in her place.
Following the brouhaha that has resulted over the trip, the YMCA has also decided to modify all field trip permission forms. The new forms will comply with school policy and the location and activities on each trip will be more clearly detailed.
Officials at Planned Parenthood say they were proud to be placed on the list of destinations the YMCA put together for the students to attend.
Anne Johnson, a representative of the abortion center, said she didn’t talk to the students about abortion during the three four minute presentation, but used her to talk to promote the use of contraception.
Following the trip and the public outcry, pro-life advocates asked for equal time with the students.
“We request that the same children be allowed to sit with an educator from New Hampshire Right to Life,” Darlene Pawlik, the group’s president, said at the school board meeting last week.
Superintendent Michael Ludwell said he would need to see a formal request to address the students before he would make a decision on whether a representative of the New Hampshire pro-life group can meet with them.
Yet, he questioned whether exposing the seventh and eight grade students to another speaker on the sensitive issue would be a good idea.
The Monday night board meeting resulted in a decision to ask the school district to investigate how the decision was made to take the students to an abortion business and whether any disciplinary actions should be taken against those who decided.
The vote will also likely result policy changes preventing a future trip to an abortion center from happening again.