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Afternoon Sex Ed Round-Up: California, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma and more...

Rachel Hart,
Reproductive Freedom Project
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July 24, 2006

Florida: An editorial in the Daytona Beach News-Journal argues that parents should talk to their children about sex, and tackles the effectiveness of virginity pledges.Michigan: An op-ed out of Michigan says that “Morality should not be the focus of sex education. Rather than distinguishing marriage as a point appropriate for sex, educators should focus on facts related to health. As far as facts are concerned, monogamy and celibacy are always options to help stay sexually safe. They are not the only options, though. Educating students about safe sex while not promoting the act itself is more valuable than trying to convince or scare teens into believing that sex outside of marriage is wrong.”Missouri: The Missourian has a very in depth article about teen sex and the debate between ab-only-until-marriage programs vs. comprehensive sex ed (this article is part of a series, and I will be featuring the rest in the coming days). The article covers one teen’s decision to start having sex and the role that her parents have played in making sure that she is safe. The article talks about how teens want more information about how to protect themselves from pregnancy and STDs and want more than the “just say no” message. It also looks at the struggle one teen faced to get her school to allow her to hand out condoms.Oklahoma: An editorial in the Muskogee Phoenix notes that a recent study by the Oklahoma state Department of Health reported that 37 percent of Oklahoma mothers did not intend to become pregnant — adolescent mothers reported the largest percentage of unplanned births. The editorial says that “Sex is a part of life, something young people should be prepared for, as well as its consequences whether that be STDs or children. If they are not prepared, the consequences can be tragic for them and others.”And there are two new articles on the HPV vaccine: One article out of California says that the Los Angeles Unified School District (and possibly more schools in Los Angeles County) plans to offer female students the vaccine. Twenty-two school districts in the county already offer 16 vaccines to uninsured children, and Peter Kerndt, the director of the county health department’s sexually transmitted disease program, says he will soon recommend to county supervisors that all female adolescents in Los Angeles County receive the vaccine unless their parents opt out.The second article out of Maine quotes a doctor who notes that “A woman could stay abstinent until marriage, and still contract HPV from her husband… This isn’t about premarital sex. This is about who’s going to have sex, period. It’s outside of the whole moral debate.” Interestingly enough, the Guttmacher Institute released a report today about young married women in developing countries and their risk of contracting HIV/AIDS from their husbands.