In a comprehensive study released Wednesday, the U.N. reaffirmed that sex education does not lead to higher rates of sexual activity among teens, and encourages safer sex practices among those already sexually active.
The study reviewed 68 studies worldwide on the impact of AIDS and sex education on young people. UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot said "Failing to provide appropriate and timely information to young people for fear of encouraging sexual activity is not a viable option." He praised several countries for their comprehensive sex education starting at a young age. Piot said the study will help destroy the myth perpetuated by religious conservatives that sex education will lead to higher rates of sex and STDs. The study shows that students who receive sex education tend to wait until they are older to have sex and have fewer sexual partners, unplanned pregnancies and STDs.
The U.N. still faces obstacles to making sex education global. For example, in many Catholic countries, the Pope has urged parents to remove their children from any programs that teach about condoms, saying it is "dangerous" and "immoral."
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. . . .