Afternoon Round-Up

Takeissuetakecharge.org 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.

New Jersey Rejects Federal Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Dollars!

The Star-Ledger reports that yesterday New Jersey rejected federal abstinence-only-until-marriage funding because “the strings attached to the [federal] money contradict [New Jersey’s] own sex education and AIDS education programs.” Since 1997, New Jersey had received around $800,000 a year from the federal government to teach these programs. New Jersey now joins California, Maine, and Pennsylvania as one of only four states in the nation that have rejected abstinence-only-until-marriage funding.

A state official quoted in the article notes that in the past, New Jersey had adhered to several, but not all, of the elements required to receive federal abstinence-only-until-marriage funding:

For instance, the state adhered to section C, which teaches that abstinence from sexual activity is the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

ACLU Mom Helps Stop Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Curriculum in DeKalb County, Georgia

It all started with an announcement of reproductive rights article in the school newsletter. In November 2004, parents at the Shamrock Middle School in DeKalb County, Georgia, were notified of a PTA meeting in January to discuss a new abstinence-only-until-marriage curriculum for eighth graders.

Sue Briss was one of several parents for whom a red flag was raised as soon as she read the words “abstinence-only.” As local parents like Briss started sharing their concerns about the new curriculum, they soon formed a loose-knit group dedicated to looking deeper into the situation.