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I'm about to take a much-needed week off -- one I've needed for a good year or more! -- but I wanted to hop in and catch all of you up with some recent changes here at the site, some new articles, and a couple pressing issues out and about in the world.
• Starting with the larger issues, James Wagoner from Advocates for Youth, at RH Reality Check, explains that, "Today, the House Democrats will waltz into the mark-up of the Labor HHS Subcommittee and proudly present a bill that puts their stamp of approval on domestic abstinence-only-until-marriage programs—an ideological boondoggle that threatens the health and well-being of America's youth.
The most appalling aspect of this sell-out is that that the Democrats will not only fully fund the worst of the failed abstinence-only-until-marriage programs—they'll give them a $27 million increase—the first in three years!
Shame on Congressman David Obey for brokering this "deal;" shame on Congresswoman Nita Lowey for agreeing to it; and shame on those other Democrats on the Appropriations Committee who have already promised not to offer any amendment that would cut funding for abstinence-only programs and thus "upset" the deal."
As a lot of you already probably know, sex education is such a loaded and controverisal topic, and we've never really been able to count on any one group or political party to champion accurate, comprehensive sex ed for all. So, I can't say I'm surprised, but as ever, I remain disappointed, especially since more and more studies are showing, for those who didn't get it already, that abstinence-only sex ed isn't working to safeguard the public health and cultivate a healthy collective sexuality, and has never worked.
Are you bummed out, too? If you are -- and I hate to dictate, but if you're here reading at Scarleteen, you really should be -- there are some things you can do to help keep pushing politicians to make better choices for our youth and our world. You can, for instance, use this link to email your representative about these issues. Remember that if you're a teen or young adult yourself, that your words CAN have power, so if you've your own things to say about sex ed, by all means, instead of using the form letter provided, tailor your own.
• I also wanted to bring your attention to the Access to Birth Control Act, signed into law in Oregon, which will hopefully set a precedent for other states. The ABC, as the Feminist Majority Foundation outlines, "The new law, effective on January 1, 2008 requires private health insurers to cover birth control prescriptions and also requires hospitals to provide sexual assault survivors with emergency contraceptives...This bill comes during a time when birth control prices at college health clinics and clinics serving low-income women across the US are skyrocketing due to a change in the Medicaid rules under the federal Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 that is just going into effect." Kudos to Governor Ted Kulongoski for strengthening this important protection for women!
• Now, to bring things home. Finally, after months of work, we've got the upgrade to our main site finished! We've got a bunch of new features for users to explore, as well as some fantastic new articles:
We've also got some new information on and reviews of S.E.X., our progressive young adult sexuality guide, an updated media kit, more helpful advice and information than ever, some new articles and interviews coming up soon, as well as the shiny, upgraded blog here. Enjoy, and now, off to my highly anticipated and extended nap!