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Teen groups lobby Congress for sex ed funding

Raw Story reporter Melissa McEwan (aka bloggrrl Shakes Sis) has an news article up on teen groups pushing Congress for comprehensive sex education in the face of misleading and inaccurate abstinence-only programs funded by the Bush Administration — 11 out of 13 abstinence-only curricula examined were found to contain errors and distortions. Lovely.

The disinformation being put out there, discovered by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) last year included unhinged nonsense such as this:

• A 43-day-old fetus is a “thinking person.”

• HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, can be spread via sweat and tears.

• Condoms fail to prevent HIV transmission as often as 31 percent of the time in heterosexual intercourse.

• One curriculum, called “Me, My World, My Future,” teaches that women who have an abortion “are more prone to suicide” and that as many as 10 percent of them become sterile. This contradicts the 2001 edition of a standard obstetrics textbook that says fertility is not affected by elective abortion, the Waxman report said.

Teen advocates have decided to take action and work to make funding available for comprehensive sex education. From the Raw Story article:

In response to federal budget requests which would increase funding once again for abstinence-only sex education, Advocates for Youth has launched two new campaigns domestically and abroad—the Keep it REAL campaign and the Fix the Gap campaign, which seek to prioritize sex education programs that include information about contraception and the HIV prevention.

“We launched the campaigns for several reasons,” Caeden Dempsey, Advocates for Youth’s Program Manager, said. “First, to educate the public on the importance of comprehensive sex education, which includes information about both abstinence and contraception. Secondly, to affect policy change; specifically, increase Senate support for the REAL Act, and increase Senate and general House support for global funding of comprehensive HIV prevention education. And finally, to build capacity among young organizers to advocate on their own behalf.”

Advocates for Youth, which operates on a premise of Rights, Respect and Responsibility, currently has 15,000 young people nationwide as part of their Youth Activist Network.

“Advocates for Youth believes that all young people have the right to balanced, accurate, and realistic comprehensive sex education and HIV prevention education,” Dempsey said. “Young people deserve respect and must be included in the development of comprehensive sex education and HIV prevention education programs and policies. Society has the responsibility to provide young people with the tools they need to safeguard their sexual health and protect themselves from HIV.”

Read the rest; these young people are making a difference and countering the tide of ignorance-promotion.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding