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News Round Up: Minnesota, New York and Oklahoma

Rachel Hart,
Reproductive Freedom Project
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June 18, 2007

Across the country, papers are featuring editorials and op-eds on the issue of abstinence-only programs. One editorial from the Tulsa World in Oklahoma noted some very frightening beliefs about birth control among local teens:

If boys drink a lot of Mountain Dew before sex, it decreases their sperm count so their partners are less likely to get pregnant. Boys from rural communities who spend a lot of time outdoors in the sun, wearing those snug cowboy jeans all day, can’t get girls pregnant. Girls who administer soda pop vaginally after sex can’t get pregnant.

Sadly, these misguided birth control practices aren’t all that surprising in light of a recent study from the Guttmacher Institute which found that “one in three teens currently get no education about birth control at all, and of those who do, many do not get it when they need it most — before they start to have sex.”The Star Tribune in Minnesota ran an editorial criticizing a recent decision by the legislature to cut a proposal for comprehensive and medically accurate sex ed instruction from the state’s education budget.The executive director of Minnesota Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy, Prevention and Parenting urges parents to take action:

We need parents to raise their voices and talk to their school superintendents, their principals and their legislators and help get comprehensive sex education passed.Because right now, we are trading kids’ knowledge and information — their health and their futures — while the politicians cave in to some very narrow values.

And an op-ed in The Buffalo News in New York urges support for the Healthy Teens Act — legislation that would “provide young people with both the information and the capacity to make healthy choices.” The authors note that

No matter how hard parents try, some teens will make mistakes. The best we can do — short of grounding them for life — is to set good examples, provide honest information and encourage them to use that knowledge to make the best possible decisions.Withholding information does nothing to encourage trust or support healthy decision-making. Plus, keeping kids in the dark is a poor public health strategy.

Has anything run in your local paper supporting comprehensive sex ed?

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