The Boston Globe featured an excellent editorial piece this week about how Eastern Massachusettes transit agencies should allow family planning advertisements on their buses.
Planned Parenthood has been looking for ways to advertise the relocation of its Central Massachusetts health center. They were denied the opportunity to take out a bus ad by the Worchester Transit Authority, despite moving forward with plans to run two of the proposed ads. The authority rejected the ads in September, claiming the phrases "Size Matters" and "Bigger is Better" may go against their policy of not running ads about tobacco, alcohol, politics or religion. The tongue-in-cheek phrasing referred to the new and larger Planned Parenthood facility.
But here's where it gets worse: When Planned Parenthood agreed to replace the ad with the bland but less controversial, "We're Moving," they were also denied by the transit authority.
The Boston Globe puts it best: "It’s 2010. Sexual health, birth control and testing for sexually transmitted diseases are no longer shameful, illicit subjects to be avoided in polite society --Opportunities for education about these issues should be broadcast at loud volumes, not squelched by squeamishness."
By putting Planned Parenthood through a formal review, thus delaying their ads and keeping them from releasing the ads right when the new center opens, the transit authority is sending a very political message: They're against publicizing a place that provides resources and accurate information about sexual health. In an area where teenage pregnancy is disproportionately on the rise, it's important to have ads about a new health facility everywhere young people turn.
I want to echo the Boston Globe's piece: It is 2010. A new decade and one where we should all do away with taboos about family planning and taking care of our bodies in the best possible ways. Haven't we learned that turning a blind eye from unplanned pregnancies, STD's and barely-there sexual knowledge hasn't helped at all? It's time to face these issues head on, and to do that individuals need community support.