California: Good news and bad news from California today. The good news comes in an editorial published in The Californian that discusses why California's teen pregnancy rate is declining faster than any other state. The author notes that a recent study by the Guttmacher Institute ranked California first among all 50 states for reproductive health laws and policies, and for overall efforts to help prevent unintended pregnancy, in addition to the fact that California took the lead in opting out of federal money for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. The article also highlights the work of Girls Inc.:
Girls Inc., with after-school programs in east Salinas, Greenfield, Soledad, Gonzales and Seaside, encourages girls to examine the wide range of choices available to them -- choices that will greatly diminish if they have an unwanted pregnancy.Programs that provide girls accurate information on health and sexuality, assist them in avoiding risky situations, encourage them to make smart choices and promote post-secondary education can reduce teen pregnancy and school dropout rates. Girls Inc. helps them make the connection between the choice to avoid pregnancy and a future that offers possibilities. Girls Inc. also provides mother-daughter communication workshops.
The bad news comes in an article published in the Pasadena Weekly. That article focuses on a group called Awareness Inc. that offers abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. The article makes clear that even though California, as a state, has refused federal money to fund abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, federal money is still flowing into the state through grants administered to private groups.The article goes on to note that while state law requires comprehensive sex ed instruction that discusses abstinence as well as contraceptives, a 2003 survey by the ACLU affiliate in that state found that 85% of California's public schools were in violation of one or more state laws governing sex ed.Texas: This article from the Waco Tribune is from last year, but I couldn't resist posting it as it has a lot of great information. The piece talks about "technical virginity" and a great program called Making Sense of Abstinence. According to the article, the term "technical virgin" refers to:
...one who hasn't had sex as the textbook defines it, but may have engaged in oral sex or other activities that might expose him or her to sexually transmitted diseases, while retaining the virgin label.
And finally, Stateline has an article about the HPV vaccine. The article is interesting because it notes that 47 states already require that students be vaccinated against Hepatitis B which can be transmitted through blood, contaminated needles, or sexual activity.