By Robert Beeland
On Thursday, November 5, Sewanee welcomed Francie Hunt, senior field manager of Planned Parenthood in Middle and East Tennessee, to campus for a Pinnacle Luncheon hosted by the Women’s Center. In light of the recent campaign against Planned Parenthood, Hunt discussed the organization’s impact here in Tennessee and clarified its efforts to improve reproductive health around the country. Hunt explained the core values of Planned Parenthood—chiefly among them the desire to provide affordable healthcare to a variety of Americans—and described the efforts made by the organization to do so. Taking place in the Wick’s Mary Sue Cushman Room, the luncheon hosted, in addition to Hunt, an assortment of students. Sarah Trumbore (C’18) commented on the event, saying that it “helped me understand why I support Planned Parenthood.”
In addition to providing sex education and distributing condoms and other forms of contraception, Planned Parenthood offers a number of services besides abortion procedures. With 59 locations nationwide, the organization plays a vital role in spreading awareness of safe sex and preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. The closest Planned Parenthood to Sewanee is located in Nashville and distributes condoms for free (don’t forget that condoms can be found in the Women’s Center or the University Wellness Center, though).The event discussed the recent controversy regarding a number of videos purportedly detailing information regarding aborted fetuses being harvested for tissue samples at Planned Parenthood clinics. The disputed nature of these videos, in addition to the role Planned Parenthood has played as a topic of debate amongst many lead candidates for the Presidential Election next year, has illustrated the astonishing need for reliable information regarding an organization that provides an array of services for countless Americans and advocates for the reproductive rights of all women. The Pinnacle Luncheon brought such information to the forefront of discussion here on Sewanee’s campus. The Wick and Sewanee’s African American Alliance will be hosting another Pinnacle Luncheon this Wednesday, November 11, featuring Dr. Tracy D. Sharpley-Whiting, the author of Pimps Up Ho’s Down: Hip Hop’s Hold on Young Black Women.