National Partnership for Women & Families

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May 28,2013

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  "Illinois Bans Abstinence-Only Sex Ed: 'In Fantasy Land, We Teach Our Kids Abstinence,'" Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": Under a measure (HB 2675) passed by the Illinois Legislature last week, state schools will be required to include medically accurate information in sex education classes and barred from using abstinence-only curricula, Culp-Ressler writes. She adds that the bill's sponsor, state Sen. Linda Holmes (D), was right when she said teens need more information to safeguard their sexual health. Culp-Ressler notes that 70% of U.S. teens have had sex by age 19, adding that 80% of evangelical Christians report having sex before marriage. When "young people become sexually active, they often don't understand how to effectively protect themselves," because of poor sex education, she writes, adding that such classes "often mislead students about the facts of contraception" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 5/24).

What others are saying about adolescent health:

~ "U.S. Teen Birth Rates at All-Time Low," Ponta Abadi, Ms. Magazine blog.

  "Congressman: Women Should Be Forced To Give Birth To Fetuses With No Brain Function," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) on Thursday told a woman testifying during a hearing on a 20-week abortion ban that she should have carried her non-viable fetus to term instead of having an abortion, Culp-Ressler writes. Christy Zink was testifying against a bill (HR 1797) that would impose the ban on women in the District of Columbia. Zink obtained an abortion at 21 weeks of pregnancy when doctors found that her fetus was missing a large portion of its brain and had little chance for survival, Culp-Ressler explains. In her testimony, Zink refuted the notion that the bill would prevent pain, stating that her baby would have been in "near-constant pain" if it had been born. Gohmert countered that "it's a more educated decision if the child is in front of you to make those decisions" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 5/24).

  "North Carolina To Give Quarter of a Million Dollars in Women's Health Funding to Deceptive 'Clinics,'" Robin Marty, RH Reality Check: A state budget proposal before the North Carolina Senate would divert $250,000 from the North Carolina's Women's Health Fund -- where it is used to "provide medical care and contraceptive coverage for poor and uninsured women who do not qualify for Medicaid" -- to the Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship, "an umbrella group for about half of the state's crisis pregnancy centers," Marty writes. Marty notes that while CPCF says it aims to provide factual and unbiased information to pregnant women, one of its partners -- Care Net -- states in materials that affiliates "must agree not to 'recommend, provide, or refer single women for contraceptives'" and that married women, along with their husbands, should be urged to seek counsel from "'their pastor and/or physician.'" Marty writes that women's health groups -- including NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina and Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina -- "are incensed the politicians would strip funds meant to prevent unintended pregnancies and reallocate them to deceptive CPCs" (Marty, RH Reality Check, 5/24).