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Planned Parenthood hosts a night of comedy and education in Bellmore

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Planned Parenthood of Nassau County blended sex education with comedy at the Bellmore Movies on Oct. 19 as part of their “So Much More” campaign, which aims to spread awareness about the organization to the younger generation.

“That is really who Planned Parenthood serves,” said Saskia Thomson, the vice president of development and marketing. “That’s who we want to support one another.”

The night featured a parody of hip-hop artist Young MA’s music video for her song “OOOUUU,” in which the lyrics were altered to describe the services that Planned Parenthood offers and the politics behind its funding.

Amid President Donald Trump and his Republican administration's antipathy toward federal funding for Planned Parenthood, numerous affiliates of the non-profit health care center have been launching similar campaigns to debunk rumors about the services that the organization offers to women and men.

“We recruited [younger] people and they really captured what Planned Parenthood is trying to say,” said Kenny Shults, who led the creative process behind the Nassau County campaign. The Bellmore event included multiple PSAs like the parody video, audience games and raffles for a chance to win sex-related prizes such as an eggplant emoji vibrator.

The feature presentation was a pilot episode for a parody of TLC’s “The Long Island Medium,” called “The Long Island Reproductive Medium,” in which fictional character Utheresa Caputo consulted young adults on their sexual health questions and concerns.

After premiering the episode, Utheresa answered questions from the audience to preview and promote PPNC’s new online advice column, “Dear Utheresa,” in which users can send questions about sexual health to Planned Parenthood educations by e-mailing dearutheresa@ppnc.org or visiting ppnc.org/dear-utheresa.

Audience members texted their questions, which were projected on the movie theater’s screen, to Utheresa. Inquiries ranged from general questions about sex to questions about STD prevention and everything in between.

One attendee asked if there is a pill that prevents HIV, like birth control prevents pregnancy. Utheresa shared with the audience that such a pill exists and is offered at PPNC. When taken, the medication, called Pre-exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP, prevents the HIV virus from penetrating the white blood cells by forming a protective layer around them.

For Alexandra Salerno, who played Utheresa, the event fostered hope in the future of Planned Parenthood. “I definitely think that this is an informative and fun way to bring across a message that is so vital right now,” she said. “I hope we go beyond Nassau County to show the country that Planned Parenthood is so much more.”