Science Ideology

When it comes to family planning and reproductive choice, conservatives and progressives alike find agreement on a common objective: more pregnancies in the United States should be wanted, and far fewer should be unwanted.Wanted pregnancies result in better life opportunities for women, their children, and their families.

But when does an unwanted pregnancy become a barrier to opportunity? When reproductive health is politicized, and science takes a backseat to ideology. A recent study from the Guttmacher Institute describes just one result of such policies — an increase in unplanned pregnancies, with disproportionate negative consequences for low-income women, immigrant women, and women of color.

Cool in the Eyes of God

Abstinence-only-until-marriage education brought to you by the state Louisiana (and funded by your tax dollars):

“Tell your friend that abstaining from sex until entering a loving marriage will give her the freedom to achieve [sic] true self-esteem — to be, truly, ‘cool’ in God’s eyes as well as yours and mine.”

“After repenting, ask God to forgive you through Jesus Christ. Then ask Him for strength to resist future sexual temptations.”

“What is not okay? Anything that stirs the desire to sin.

Afternoon Round-Up reports that the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended today that 11 and 12 year-old girls are routinely vaccinated against HPV, and that the vaccine can be administered to girls as young as 9 at a doctor’s discretion.

The committee’s vote was unanimous, with two of the 15 members abstaining because of they have worked on Merck-funded studies. The committee also voted to add the HPV vaccine to the coverage list for the federal Vaccines for Children program, which pays for immunizations for uninsured and underinsured children.

Are Our Schools Flunking Sex Ed?

Great reproductive rights article on sex-ed in the April issue of Diablo.  Renee Walker, a fantastic activist out of CA, was interviewed for the piece.

Buoyed by this victory and incensed to find that more abstinence-only programs were operating in area schools, Walker in 2003 founded Bay Area Communities for Health Education (BACHE), which is dedicated to supporting comprehensive sex education, encompassing both abstinence and contraceptives. She spends at least two hours a day on BACHE-related activities, much of it poring over literature used in abstinence-only sex education classes looking for inaccurate or misleading material.