Planned Parenthood Launches Twitter Account Targeting Teens

National   |   Lucy LeFever   |   Feb 16, 2012   |   11:14AM   |   Washington, DC

Imagine that after a boring day at school, 14-year-old Jessica wraps up her homework and opens up her laptop. She watches a YouTube video or two, then signs into her Facebook and Twitter accounts to check in with her friends.

On Twitter, she is greeted with messages from a stranger asking what she learned at school today and who she has a crush on. Unaware of the stranger’s possible intentions, she tweets back.

Has Jessica just encountered one of the online predators that Internet safety PSAs are constantly warning about? Maybe. Or perhaps she has just stumbled upon a new Planned Parenthood Twitter account.

Whether they are texting high school students, lecturing in public schools, or coaxing students to their cringeworthy “Teen Information” website, Planned Parenthood relentlessly tries to appeal to the nation’s youth. Their most recent attempt is the newly-launched “HeyPP!” Twitter account. The page is meant to reach teenagers with sexual health information, but aside from a few high school feminists, I doubt it will have much impact.

Why? Two reasons. (Aside from Reason #3, that the account screams “Creeper”.)

The first reason I doubt HeyPP will go far is their approach. One of my Hollywood pet peeves is the constant portrayal of sitcom parents as hopelessly stupid, especially in television shows directed at children or teenagers. You know, the mom who misuses popular expressions or the embarrassing dad who just doesn’t get it. But Planned Parenthood, in trying to push this stereotype, has ended up fulfilling it themselves. Here is a sample of Planned Parenthood’s tweets:

“Ever have one of those moments in school where you learned something REALLY worth knowing? #TellUs”

“Freaked out about asking yr parents about birth control? You can totally do this. We can help.”

“Are you super obvious when you’re #crushing on someone… or super stealth?”

Whether a Planned Parenthood worker is creeping for more business, or is merely wishing to re-live her Jr. High slumber party days remains unclear.

Still, the attempts are laughable. No teenager is going to be saying, “Thank you Planned Parenthood! I was too embarrassed to confide in my parents about birth control, but now I can ask you on a public website in front of my friends!”

There is a second and more serious reason that I doubt HeyPP will be successful. Planned Parenthood’s reputation is fading in popularity as quickly as their choice of words. (Another HeyPP tweet reads, “Sounds like a solid plan!” I’m still watching for the word “groovy.”) Planned Parenthood has been exposed for lying, failing to report statutory rape, and not only concealing, but aiding in the sex trafficking of minors.

But it isn’t only Planned Parenthood that has a dwindling reputation among teens. Abortion as a whole is becoming increasingly unpopular with our nation’s youth. Unlike generations before, today’s teens are a part of what can be called the “refrigerator generation.” Unborn children are not an abstract “blob of tissue” to us, as we have grown up seeing ultrasound images of our unborn brothers, sisters, and cousins on our refrigerator doors. Combine this with an increase in pro-life activism, and it makes sense that more of our generation reports to be pro-life than pro-choice.

Abortion and Planned Parenthood are losing popularity among youth, and no excessive use of the words “like” and “totally” is going to change that.

HeyPP has missed the mark. However, many pro-life groups have been successful at engaging youth in activism. Check them out below: Note:  Lucy LeFever is a Live Action contributing writer. This column appeared at the Live Action blog and is reprinted with permission.