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Washington State Affiliate Hopeful about Comprehensive Sex-Education

Jody Weller,
ACLU of Washington State
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January 26, 2007
The World We Want

Reproductive freedom has been and will continue to be one of the issues closest to my heart. I just moved to the state at the beginning of the month to begin an internship with the ACLU, and I’m already excited about the focus here on women’s health issues and reproductive rights. I hope to keep working toward issues pertaining to women’s rights, as well as to provide my own input and ideas to help uphold the right to a medically safe abortion.

After 34 years, Roe v. Wade continues to be a source of reinforcement and inspiration for those concerned about reproductive rights. The ACLU and the Healthy Youth Alliance in the state of Washington are working toward a more comprehensive Sex-Education curriculum that would provide information to elementary and high school students about topics currently restricted in many districts: for example, in 28% of our state’s sexual education courses, teachers cannot discuss abortion. There is some evidence from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction that there may be a link between students who learn more wide-reaching sexual education than abstinence-only programs and declining teen pregnancy rates. Raising informed youth who are aware of their options and rights involving sexuality and HIV/AIDS education would provide them with the confidence to make the right decisions. To me, a bill introduced last week mandating medically accurate sexual education in schools is an imperative as well as an encouraging step for our children’s future.

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