Twenty-two high school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, will be part of a condom distribution pilot program in an attempt to reduce sexually transmitted infections and diseases (STIs) among Philadelphia teenagers.
The schools with the highest rates of STIs among students were selected to be a part of the program that features condom dispensers inside school health offices. Condoms were available to students prior to this program once a year when the school district offered free STI testing, but were not available year round. The results of the annual STI tests were used to justify the pilot program as well as to determine which schools would be selected to participate. With the new program, students can take condoms from the dispensers as needed providing that their parents did not elect to opt out of the program.
Philadelphia school district spokesman Fernando Gallard told reporters, "We believe distributing condoms is part of our obligation to keep students healthy and to remain healthy. The health department has described this as a continued epidemic of STDs among teenagers in Philadelphia." According to Donald F. Schultz, deputy mayor for health and opportunity, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that despite falling STI rates in the city since April 2011, teenagers make up approximately 25% of new HIV infections.
Media Resources: ThinkProgress 1/3/2013; ABC News 12/26/2012; Philadelphia Inquirer 12/24/2012
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .