Blog of Rights

Sex Ed News Round-Up: Alaska, California, Georgia, Nebraska, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania

By Rachel Hart, Reproductive Freedom Project at 11:42am
Alaska: The Anchorage Daily News has an announcement for a "Now I Know" abstinence-only-until-marriage rally aimed at teen girls. The event is put on by a group called My Sister's Keeper Alaska. Aside from curiosity about what the event will be like, I also wonder why so many abstinence events seem to be geared towards girls and not boys. California: There have been several articles this week focusing on teen pregnancy in California. An article out of San Bernardino features the work of a group called HABLO -- Helping Adolescents Build Life Options. Founded in 1997, the program recognizes that teens are more apt to listen to their peers rather than their parents or teachers, and it aims to train teens to counsel other teens on topics such as pregnancy, family life, STDs and contraceptives. The program is offered at San Andreas, Cajon, Pacific and Arroyo Valley high schools. A second article discusses teen pregnancy in Humboldt County. The Director of the Teen-Adult Partnership for Enhancing Strategies Toward Responsible Youth (TAPESTRY) says that "California Education Code requires comprehensive, research-based sexuality education. But as school nurse positions are cut because of budget cuts, the availability of such education is limited." And finally, this week the Get Real About Teen Pregnancy campaign in California released the results of a public opinion poll. The telephone survey was conducted among African American, Caucasian, Filipino, Hispanic and Vietnamese respondents and designed to identify the role that cultural identity plays in this issue. Across the five ethnic groups, more than 78 percent of all respondents support providing condoms and sex education to high school students. Georgia: Four hundred teens from Macon will take part in a national study on the prevention of HIV and STDs. In addition to Macon, the study will include teens from Columbia, South Carolina, Syracuse, New York, and Providence, Rhode Island. The cities were selected based on their high rates of teen pregnancy, STDs, and HIV. The study will teach teens safer sex practices in addition to stressing abstinence. In addition to attending sessions on safe sex and abstinence, teens in two of the four cities, Macon and Syracuse, will be exposed to positive television and radio messages about safe sex and abstinence for further reinforcement. Nebraska: The Nebraska state department of Health and Human Services announced that it will begin accepting proposals to fund community-based abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. The state has $185,000 from the federal government to distribute in grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000. Just imagine if that money was going to fund comprehensive sex ed. North Carolina: Yes! Weekly out of Greensboro has an article about the sex ed survey released last week by the local NARAL and ACLU affiliates. (Take Issue, Take Charge has a link to the study and issued a press release featuring the survey results and commending the passage of new sex ed legislation in North Carolina.) Pennsylvania: A local paper has a story about the importance of comprehensive sex ed at an early age. The article has a great quote from a teen mother:
Besides gossip from her equally inexperienced teenage girlfriends and her mother's advice to resist "temptations of the flesh," Chante Dillingham never really had a solid sex education. So by the time she and other ninth-graders had begun carrying around chicken eggs, pretending they were babies for a health class project, it was too late for Dillingham, then 14. I was already pregnant.
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