Blog of Rights

News Round-Up: Sexuality in sex ed, fertility, the importance of religious leaders in preventing teen pregnancy, and a look at Sweden.

By Rachel Hart, Reproductive Freedom Project at 3:35pm
Two articles on sex ed grace the pages of The Washington Post this week. One examines national trends surrounding the teaching of sexuality in sex ed classes. Not surprisingly, whether or not gay and lesbian issues are addressed, and if they are, how they are discussed varies widely from state to state. The second article looks at a controversy that has cropped up over the book Cycle Savvy: The Smart Teen's Guide to the Mysteries of Her Body. The book aims to help teens understand their fertility and recognize the physical signs that indicate when they are most likely to become pregnant. Some say this information will encourage teens to be reckless while others think the more information teens have about preventing pregnancy the better equipped they are to make responsible and safe decisions. Controlling one's fertility may become a bit more equitable as scientist are now saying that new methods of male birth control (besides condoms and vasectomies) are only 10 to 12 years away. A study commissioned by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy reveals that more than three quarters of teens think religious leaders should do more to help prevent teen pregnancy. An article covering the study notes that the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing, an organization comprised of 2,600 religious leaders from more than 40 denominations, has been working to encourage religious leaders to work on this issue and recently sent an open letter to 2,000 clergy and denominational heads nationwide calling for a faith-based and comprehensive approach to sex ed. And finally, for a different take on sex ed here's a quote from an article in US News and World Reports about sex education in Sweden:
Since 1956, sex education has been compulsory in Swedish schools, from the earliest grades through high school. Sex is a natural human act, the educators reason, and most people become active before they're 20. Since there is no changing that, the Swedes figure, young people should at least understand sexuality and reproduction, as well as the risks of unprotected sex. The message seems to work: The rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease in Sweden are among the world's lowest. Sweden's teenage birthrate is 7 per 1,000 births, compared with 49 in the United States. Among 15-to-19-year-olds, reported cases of gonorrhea in the United States are nearly 600 times as great on a per capita basis.
Seems simple, no?
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