Rep. Lee Introduces Bill to End Federal Funding of Abstinence Education
Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) has introduced a bill - Repealing Ineffective and Incomplete Abstinence-Only Program Funding Act of 2013 (HR 3774) - this week that would end federal funding of abstinence-only programs and support comprehensive sexuality education.
"We need to get serious about educating our young people about sex," said Lee. "Abstinence-only programs fail to address the challenge of unplanned pregnancies and sexually-transmitted infections among our youth, which have reached a critical level. We must ensure that we provide comprehensive sex education programs that have been proven to work, instead of throwing money away on programs that don't."
Since 1996, the US has spent almost two billion dollars in federal funding for abstinence until marriage programs under Title V of the Social Security Act, which allows the government to make grants to states for abstinence education. These programs are ineffective at teaching teens how to protect themselves from unintended pregnancies or sexually transmitted infections. Lee and several groups supporting the bill support comprehensive sexuality education instead, including education about contraceptives and STIs, through an Affordable Care Act program called the Personal Responsibility Education Program.
Media Resources: Congresswoman Barbara Lee Press Release 12/16/13; The Hill 12/17/13; Social Security Administration; Advocates for Youth; Feminist Newswire 11/4/13
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. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .