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U.S. Abstinence-Only Policy Panel Discussion

April 22nd, 2008 • Contributed by Dino Corvino
Posted in: Abstinence, Policy, Sex Ed

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Silencing Sex Ed: The Harm of  at Home and Abroad

Legal Momentum, the nation’s oldest legal advocacy organization dedicated to advancing the rights of women, and our colleagues at Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) and Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), present a panel discussion about the harms of abstinence-only programs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on April 23, from 4:30-6:00 pm in TITU in Memorial Union and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point on April 24, from 5:30-7:30 pm in the Founders Room.  The program will expose how the federal government uses abstinence-only funding to fuel programs full of misinformation, sexist stereotypes and extreme right-wing ideology that aim to roll back sexual and reproductive rights.  We will highlight the attack on women’s rights and sexuality both in the US and as exported via conditions on US funding, with particular attention given to the human rights implications of abstinence-only policies.

Numerous studies provide conclusive evidence that abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, at home and abroad, do not lead to positive changes in teen sexual behavior, are particularly harmful to women and girls because they promote dangerous and outdated stereotypes, potentially exacerbate the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, and increase the risk of unplanned pregnancy for teens. These times demand honest and comprehensive information about the risks of sexual activity — and how to responsibly handle those risks.

We are targeting college students and young activists to incite them to become politically active to protect comprehensive sex education.  Our outreach to college campuses will allow the coalition team to provide information directly and alert students of the national organizations’ campaigns to advance reproductive rights.  We will also encourage and support the student groups’ efforts to pursue their own local and grass-roots follow-up activities to oppose abstinence-only programs and other related restrictions on reproductive rights (such as researching their local sexuality education policies, becoming involved in efforts to require truth in education, exposing crisis pregnancy centers that target local women and other initiatives).

WHAT:    Madison – Panel presentation and Q&A on Harm of Abstinence-only Programs in U.S. and Abroad

WHO:    Julie F. Kay, Senior Staff Attorney
Sexuality and Family Rights Program, Legal Momentum
Speaking on: Abstinence-Only Programs: Harmful to Women and Girls

Jamila Taylor, Legislative and Policy Analyst
Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE)
Speaking on: Exporting the U.S. Abstinence-Only Agenda

Kate Morrison, State Policy Coordinator
Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS)
Speaking on: Challenges and Successes in Opposing Abstinence-Only

WHEN &    WEDNESDAY, APRIL 23, 2008, 4:30-6:00 PM
WHERE:    TITU in Memorial Union
Please contact Erica L Van Steen at ccse_wi@yahoo.com for more info.
WHAT:    Stevens Point – Panel presentation and Q&A on Harm of Abstinence-only Programs in U.S. and Abroad

WHO:    Julie F. Kay, Senior Staff Attorney
Sexuality and Family Rights Program, Legal Momentum
Speaking on: Abstinence-Only Programs: Harmful to Women and Girls

Jamila Taylor, Legislative and Policy Analyst
Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE)
Speaking on: Exporting the U.S. Abstinence-Only Agenda

Jen Heitel Yakush, Senior Public Policy Associate
Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS)
Speaking on: Challenges and Successes in Opposing Abstinence-Only

WHEN &    THURSDAY, APRIL 24, 2008, 5:30-7:30 PM
WHERE:    Founders Room in Old Main
Please RSVP to womenres@uwsp.edu by April 22.

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