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Soapbox: Planned Parenthood

23 Mar

I stand with Planned Parenthood and I encourage all of you to do the same.

For me, Planned Parenthood is a place where I feel comfortable getting birth control.  Even as a married woman, getting birth control can be uncomfortable and I can’t imagine what it is like for unmarried women (especially in Utah) who are looking for safe and on-going access to birth control.  We can preach abstinence until we’re blue in the face, but that doesn’t change the fact that some young people are still going to choose to participate in sexual activity prior to marriage.  With that being said, it is critical for them to have access to birth control in a safe and welcoming environment, and that is exactly what Planned Parenthood is.

Not only can teens (and anyone for that matter) access birth control they can also receive screenings, STD testing, and other exams at a reduced cost depending on their financial circumstance.  There will always be teens that hide their sexual activity from their parents no matter what we do or say, the least we can do is give them access to these essential health services.  Here is a quote from the Planned Parenthood website:

“Planned Parenthood believes that all people deserve access to preventive health care, including lifesaving breast and cervical cancer screenings, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, and contraception. In fact, more than 90 percent of the care Planned Parenthood health centers offer nationwide is preventive, helping women and families make responsible decisions about their sexual and reproductive health, their lives, and their futures.

As the nation’s leading reproductive health care provider, educator, and advocate, Planned Parenthood is dedicated to ensuring access to quality, affordable, and culturally competent health care and information in order to build strong, healthy families and communities.” (Bold added)

Aside from their services Planned Parenthood also provides a ton of educational information.  Any one that has ever walked into one of their clinics knows this.  The walls are plastered with posters and pamphlets full of quick, useful, and factual information and resources.

I feel like a lot of the debate I’ve heard on the other side of the argument is dealing with the fact that Planned Parenthood provies abortion services.  And it’s not that I agree with abortion, but the fact of the matter is, just as their website says, 90% of what Planned Parenthood does is prevention! With all that Planned Parenthood offers, think about this–how many abortions does Planned Parenthood prevent with the rest of their services?

To find out what you can do to stand with Planned Parenthood, visit their website or the Planned Parenthood Truth Tour blog.

Share your opinion, leave a comment.

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Teen Moms

23 Mar

Last week we talked about Glee and sex education and I thought this week we would follow up with another popular show among teens, the MTV series Teen Mom.   If you have never seen the show before it mostly consists of following around teenage mothers and the struggles they deal with on a day-to-day basis.  The show is already in its second season and seems to be doing well, which is not surprising when you consider that teen pregnancy rates are up for the first time in 14 years, according to the CDC.  Not only are there more teen moms out there, but in general the public is curious and intrigued with this growing population.

A popular teen girl magazine Seventeen reported here that “67.5% of teen girls have had sex without a condom” and that an astonishing “60% have had a pregnancy scare.”  Of all the things that teens have to deal with, teen pregnancy should not be on that list.

For many parents, talking to their teens about sex is difficult, many feel that because their teens know their values, they do not have to talk about it with them.  That is false.  Teens need to know that they can talk to their parents about anything and it is important to share their values with their teens through open communication.  One article gave a few tips for parents on preventing teen pregnancy:

  • “Discourage early, steady dating
  • Talk with your teen early and often about sex, contraceptives,your morals and values
  • Make their future attractive by teaching your teen to dream
  • Use good old fashion rules and curfews”

While parents can do a lot to encourage their teen to practice healthy and safe sexual habits, in the end it is up to the teen to make the correct choices.

Some more good resources for parents of teens:

Leave a comment and share your opinion!

  • What do you think is responsible for the rising rates of teen pregnancy?  A general acceptance of protected sex?  Lack of sex education in schools?  A growing trend of being a “teen mom”?  Lack of access to birth control? Media? Music??
  • What do you think about the tips for parents on preventing teen pregnancy listed above?  Are there any other suggestions you can think of?

The Sex Ed Debate

16 Mar

In a recent episode of Glee, they tackled the hot debate of sex education–abstinence only versus a more comprehensive educational approach.   You can read a summary of the episode and watch a clip  here.
I’ll admit, I’m not much of a Glee follower, but when I heard about this episode it got me thinking, what do parents/adolescents prefer?  Is abstinence-only still taught in school?  Is abstinence-only education even effective?  So I did some research about current sex education in US high schools and I was surprised at some of the things I found.

In one article I found some interesting information on some of the history on abstinence-only education.

“the 1998 Social Security Act… provided $50 million in annual grants for abstinence-only education… Language in the Act specifies that funds cannot be used to discuss contraceptives, except to describe and emphasize their failure rates.”

The article then goes on to demonstrate the impact that this Act had on sex education in high schools.  It explained that the CDC later did a study called the School health Policies and Programs study and found that 96% of high schools were in fact teaching abstinence only, but that nearly half of high schools were stopping there without providing any other preventative education.  Some of these education programs had been going on so long that 1/4 to 1/3 of the adolescents had failed to receive any formal education about other preventative measures besides abstinence.  The article highlighted this problem by informing that not only did abstinence-only programs fail to delay the onset of sexual activity and number of partners, but by graduation 63% of adolescents  had participated in some type of sex intercourse.

The alternative to abstinence-only sex education is comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) which includes education about abstinence as the best way to prevent pregnancy and STIs but it doesn’t stop there; it also includes “medically accurate” information about other preventative measures. The study performed by the CDC, found that close to 80% of students want an education program that includes both abstinence education and other prevention methods.

So with all that being said, I’m curious to know what your opinions are about the debate.  What method do you feel is more appropriate?  What was your experience with sex education in high school, and do you feel that it was affective among your peers?

Leave a comment and tell us what you think and why.