Promoting the Sexual Health of Youth

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the most comprehensive treaty on children's rights. The convention has been ratified by nearly every country in the world, except for the United States. The convention would fill current gaps in U.S. laws, and provide all children in America with the same robust protections that children in 193 countries are already entitled to.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child provides a framework for thinking about how we can best educate and care for our youth. It calls upon us to provide young people with the information and skills they need to lead healthy, productive, and peaceful lives. These are core principles and goals we should all be able to rally behind. Yet, we have failed for so long to secure a world built on these ideals.

An important piece of realizing such a world includes ensuring young people's health, including their sexual health, and how we prepare them to be healthy adults. For too long, our government has financed and pushed an abstinence-only-until-marriage approach to scare young people into not having sex and to push a social agenda that promotes discrimination against LGBT communities and women. This push has been in full-swing, both domestically and internationally, for more than a decade. We have been disseminating misinformation about birth control, condoms, and the role of sexuality in our lives. And we've been exporting a failed and unjust social policy that leaves young people bereft of the tools and skills they need to avoid unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection and to build supportive relationships and intimate human connections.

The great news is that we currently have the opportunity to stop this failed experiment and to get the country on track when it comes to teaching young people about their sexual health. In his fiscal year 2010 budget, President Obama took a critically important first step by removing abstinence-only programs. In addition, he called for a new initiative to fund evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs. This is a good sign that there's political will to get things moving in the right direction.

We now need to make sure that Congress follows the president's lead. Just yesterday morning, Newsweek's blog reported that the Senate health-reform bill, released last night, restores some funding for abstinence-only-until-marriage programming. Ugh! Don't we have enough to worry about when it comes to health care reform and efforts to cut off women's access to abortion coverage in the proposed health insurance exchange?

Help us stop Congress from reviving failed abstinence-only programming. Don't allow young people's sexual health to continue to be a political battleground. On this 20th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, let's uphold its core principles and get to work on securing the health and lives of young people at home and abroad.

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Steve

Teach the kids how to have sex. Impregnate them. Tell 'em where the nearest abortion mill is. Suck their unborn child into a sink. MORE MONEY FOR THE ACLU!!

Jesse

Are you serious!!? How twisted can you be?? Is it really that hard to see the effects that this pro-sex agenda is having on people? Have you ever had to chose to have an abortion? Why dont you encourage something positive?? Have kids think before they act! Not everyone has to be as ignorant as you!

Aaron

I fail to see the connection between the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the HPV vaccines or sex ed. I'm all for access to the HPV vaccine and accurate sexual education, including use of contraceptives, but I don't think these things are civil rights in the same way as, say, the freedom of speech.

These ... Lire la suiteare policy questions, and except where the cross over into civil rights issues, I'm not sure I'm comfortable with the ACLU taking a position on them, even if I happen to agree with that position.

PS: Your CAPTCHA appears designed only for sighted visitors (which I am). Many sights also include an audio CAPTCHA option for the sight-impaired. That's sort of ironic for a champion of the rights of the disabled. I hope you rectify it.

Anonymous

ACLU - The work you do is wrong and most of the results are evil.

Steve

Hurrr-rey HURRY hurry boys and girls and step right up to the ACLU's AMAZING comprehesive (how to have) sex education plan! While on this ride you will see the ONE AND ONLY method of banging everything that crawls without consequence and responsibility! Of course there's that word we all hate called abstinence, but where's the fun in that? If it feels good DO IT! Are you worried that your parents will find out? Not to worry my young friends, because of the efforts of the ACLU, THEY'LL NEVER KNOW! That's right boys and girls, now you can have multiple sex partners and mommy and daddy will never be the wiser! Worried about getting pregnant? WE TOOK CARE OF THAT TOO!! Since your parents are already in the dark about your sexual behavior, our next stop on our ride will be Dr. Slaughter's ABORTION MILL! We at the ACLU will have your un-born child sucked into a sink and we'll MAKE MONEY TO BOOT!! SO COME ONE COME ALL (no pun intended) to the ACLU's COMPREHENSIVE (how to have) SEX EDUCATION PLAN! Oh, and if contract a sexually transmitted disease, or if you feel suicidal after your un-born chil.......oooops I mean fetus was killed, well kiddies...DON'T COME CRYING TO THE ACLU!! YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN!! But hey, it was fun WHILE IT LASTED!!

Anonymous

"Steve" and "Anonymous", take a look at Aaron's comment. You might learn something about civil discourse.

And, for the record, I disagree in part with Aaron's comment.

As for the subject at hand, the more a child understands the rudiments of human sexuality (taught in an age appropriate way, of course). the better the outcome. A child who understands the functioning of his/her own body is better equipped to say "no".

Here is another way to think of the issue: if a child does not know the basic mechanics of sexual intercourse, the easier it is for an adult (who is, by definition in a position of authority by virtue of his/her age) to manipulate naive children, and sexually molest them. If they don't have the words, they don't have power over the integrity of their own bodies.

Maggie

Steve I could not have said it better.

Maggie

Steve I could not have said it better.

Anonymous

Disgusting. Why has the ACLU not been shut down by now? Theses freaks aided NAMBLAs agenda and now the right for children to have sex and even teach them how? Where do we draw the line with freedom and damaging society and it's future?

Anonymous1

paragraph three,"...Obama has taken a critically important first step by removing Abstinence-Only Programs." Why is removing an risk free program for teens "critically important" when both the X Family Planning Program and Abstinence-Only Programs are supposedly trying to do the same thing, Trying to reduce the risk of getting STDs. The thing about Abstinence-Only Programs is if a person choses to practice abstinence they succeed 100% of the time. On the other hand if teens practice "safe" sexual intercourse, somehow they still get pregnant or become infected by and STD. Contraceptives don't always work. Plus, when practicing abstinence, young people don't have to be thrown into hard decision they are not ready for, such as relationship problems because of their pregnancy, being a parent, abortion, or death. Even if they are "educated" on sex, doesn't mean they are ready for it. It's like if One teaches a teen how to fly an airplane or drive a car the "safe way". That does not mean they are ready to actually use it yet. The need to be mature enough to handle the machine and have caution while using it. because they are sometimes not told or made aware of the consequences, they all of a sudden face death in a crash, prison or jail if they survive the crash, and the marred life they have to live with for the rest of their life because of that crash. All this to say that to put such a serious burden and responsibility on such young and obviously unprepared people is unwise, and Obama's decision was a great great mistake. Is there hope? Think about it. What happens if all of a sudden 20% of teens in America start committing suicide because of Post-Abortion stress, or just because they have no one to go to. May God have mercy on this perverse and crooked generation, because our only hope we have is Jesus. For even if we fail and fail again we have hope, Jesus.

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