ACLU Launches Web Site for Reproductive Rights Activists, TakeIssueTakeCharge.org

June 23, 2005
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: media@aclu.org

NEW YORK -- The American Civil Liberties Union launched a Web site today, TakeIssueTakeCharge.org, as part of a national grassroots campaign to protect reproductive freedom.

"In recent years we've witnessed an unprecedented attack on our civil liberties, with reproductive freedom as a prime target," said Louise Melling, Director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. "It is time to push back and say, 'Enough is enough.' The right to life, liberty and reproductive freedom you save may be your own."

In the coming months, Take Issue, Take Charge will sponsor activities aimed at stopping government funding of ineffective and harmful abstinence-only-until-marriage programs and at promoting responsible sexuality education, the ACLU said.

Since 1997, the federal government has poured nearly a billion dollars into abstinence-only-until-marriage programs that deny teenagers the information they need to prevent pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted disease. In addition, many of these programs promote gender stereotypes, discriminate against gay and lesbian youth and all too often proselytize on the public's dime.

Recent studies show that most abstinence-only programs do not prevent teens from having sex before marriage and many actually deter teens who become sexually active from using condoms and being tested and treated for sexually transmitted diseases.

On the other hand, evidence shows that teaching teens the importance of abstinence as well as the importance of effective contraceptive use helps teens delay sex and increases condom use among sexually active teens. Currently, no federal program is dedicated to supporting this commonsense approach to sexuality education, the ACLU noted.

"Take Issue, Take Charge is for people who believe that the government should stop interfering with the decisions we all make about whether or when to have children, including to deny teens the information they need to prevent pregnancy," said Melling. "By going to the campaign's website, anyone can become an activist, one action at a time."

Take Issue, Take Charge is a nationwide campaign coordinated by the national ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project in conjunction with ACLU affiliates throughout the country. Following its initial focus on sexuality education, the campaign will target other pressing reproductive rights issues, including increasing access to emergency contraception and combating refusals by hospitals, insurance companies, pharmacies and others to provide basic reproductive health services.

The site is: www.TakeIssueTakeCharge.org.

 

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