Miss America’s reign started with controversy. Many felt that Kira Kazantsev didn’t deserve the title because of her red cup routine. But it looks like someone is now trying to start a much bigger controversy surrounding her title.
Pro-life website, LifeNews.com, wrote a story on Monday, Sept. 15, after noticing that Kazantsev had listed Planned Parenthood on her résumé. According to Kazantsev’s LinkedIn page, she was an education intern with the organization in Hempstead, New York, in 2013.
So, why is this a big deal?
Although some associate Planned Parenthood with abortion, the organization offers health services for millions of women across the country. As for Kazantsev, her responsibilities included assisting “delivery of programs in local public schools, teaching children about mutual respect & self esteem” and conducting “research on Planned Parenthood Education,” according to the Huffington Post.
Kazantsev’s platform during the Miss America pageant was based on domestic violence and so her Planned Parenthood role makes sense for her. The current Miss New York spoke openly about her past abusive relationship and how it has driven her to educate people.
“I didn’t even know it was happening to me,” Kazantsev told People. “It took outside words and opinions from friends and family for me to realize what I was going through. People often think, it’s none of my business — that’s their personal relationship. Well, it is your business to step in and say something. Even if it’s just to hand them a hotline card.”
In a recent interview with NPR, Kazantsev explained, “I want people to stop asking, ‘Why doesn’t she just leave?’ Every woman is an expert in her own case, and there are so many extenuating circumstances that lead to a woman staying with her abuser.”
Kazantsev is obviously passionate about not just women’s rights, but human rights. Her past with Planned Parenthood seems to be a natural role for her passions and likely allowed her to work with women and children in all areas of life.