Wednesday night’s debate gave us a lot of great material. But it was a little disheartening: There was not one mention of social issues, like women’s reproductive rights or gay rights. So, to cheer us up, we’ve put together a list of good thing happening for sex education and reproductive rights.
Military Acknowledges Sexual Assaults
The Pentagon is stepping up its sexual assault prevention training in light of the rape and assault of female trainees at the Air Force’s basic training base in San Antonio. In July, the New York Times said 31% of all female trainees were identified as possible victims. To its credit, the Department of Defense reacted quickly – and hopefully effectively – to the crimes committed. It released a statement last week detailing its plan to implement new and improved prevention efforts. The changes will begin with a review of the current program, followed by a “fundamental change” in the way the DoD deals with sexual assault and its aftermath.
NYC schools: Yes, girls get pregnant.
New York City high schools have rolled out a program at 13 schools offering Plan B for students who need it. The program, called Connecting Adolescents To Comprehensive Health (CATCH), is trying to help girls prevent teen pregnancy so they don’t have to turn to MTV for support. Also, having a baby greatly increases the chances that a young woman will drop out of high school. The program has been minimally publicized, though ABC says about 4.7% of the 12,000 girls who had access to the program took advantage of it last year. That’s over 500 high school girls who won’t have to make difficult choices down the road.
Mississippi: Yes, people have sex
Mississippi is changing its sex-ed laws as well: schools will actually have to teach it. The state has the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country and a new law, passed in 2011, is attempting to curtail that trend. The Mississippi based non-profit Mississippi First was instrumental in getting grassroots support for the program, based on the fiscal realities the state faces as more and more of its population is made of teen parents and their kids. (Both have lower graduation rates and earn less than their peers over time.) The curriculum focuses on science-based evidence, as opposed to scare tactics, by clearly outlining different forms of conception and their pros and cons.