What was Your Sex-Ed Like? Submit a Video!

Amie Newman

The deadline for our Fresh Focus: Sex Ed Digital Video Contest has been extended! Tell us about your sex-ed experience; win cool prizes and maybe even a trip to San Francisco to screen your video!

Are you or is someone you know between the ages of 15 and 30 years old?
What are you waiting for? It's easy! It's fun! And the deadline has been extended!

Now you have until Monday, January 7th to gather some friends over the Winter Break and produce your own video on the sexuality education you received in school, the sex-ed you wished you'd had or what you think the future of sex-ed might look like!

Don't know where to start? Perhaps the hosts of the Midwest Teen Sex Show can provide some futuristic inspiration?

Or sit back and watch the videos that have already been submitted and see what your peers have to say about sex-ed in America!

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Don't wait!! The deadline for submitting videos is Monday, January 7th!

Prizes include $3500, $1000 or an iPhone! And a trip to San Francisco to screen your winning video at the Sex::Tech Conference.

Questions?
Email amie AT rhrealitycheck DOT org

Roundup: Would You Like Your Abortion Regular, or Decaf? A “He Said What?” Roundup

Robin Marty

People say really amazing things when it comes to reproductive rights. Here are just a few recent statements that are making news.

As rhetoric gets more and more heated around the debate for reproductive rights, more and more outrageous things are coming out of people’s mouths.  And in this case, the proverbial mouth is that of high-level representatives of the Catholic church, who recently compared the “habit” of abortion to “having a cup of coffee.”

From the California Catholic Daily:

There is another aspect “that must be considered among these pathologies that for us is also very dangerous,” [The new president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Archbishop Ignacio Carrasco de Paula] said. “It is spoken of very little and is of less concern to the public, and even to the scientific community, and that is the grave phenomenon of the habit of abortion.”

The problem, he said, “was made manifest in all of its gravity when 20 years ago, after the devastating earthquake in Armenia (1989), a team of doctors from the Sacred Heart Catholic University traveled to the region to provide medical assistance and discovered that many women had undergone as many as 20 abortions or more. For them, having an abortion had become something like having a cup of coffee [emphasis added]. Thus they talked about the dramatic phenomenon of completely erasing any moral sensitivity to the issue of abortion.”

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But the Archbishop isn’t the only one saying some pretty outrageous things recently.  A parish priest in El Paso reminds readers in a guest column in the El Paso Times that you cannot be a Catholic without opposing abortion, as well as gay marriage, and that it is a mortal sin not to actively fight against them.

I sincerely hope and pray that all El Paso Catholics will take to heart the precious and infallible teachings of Holy Mother Church in the moral sphere, particularly those most relevant to our city at this critical juncture.

Remember: Every single Catholic, out of fidelity to charity and truth, has the absolute duty to oppose (1) the murder of unborn babies, and (2) any and all government attempts to legalize homosexual unions.

Abortion and homosexual acts are unequivocally intrinsic moral evils. And friends, this objective truth doesn’t depend on the opinion of the majority. Frighteningly, if the majority chooses to deny the objective moral order, then we will all suffer the pestiferous consequences.

It is perhaps most interesting that part of Rev. Rodriguez’s argument relies on the idea that just because the majority believes something doesn’t make it right, when anti-choice activists have been pushing the idea that a majority of Americans now identify as pro-life as a reason to end abortion all together, despite the legality of the procedure.

But apparently there is one thing more offensive to conservatives than abortion, and that’s the threat of more immigrants in the country.  Or, as leaders in the anti-immigrant community are calling it, an “invasion by birth canal.”  Via Jezabel:

“It’s invasion by birth canal,” the leader of a California anti-immigrant ballot initiative told the Los Angeles Times. The head of an anti-immigrant group in Virginia called for an investigation into “whether or not illegal aliens have a preferred breeding season.” According to Texas Republican Representative Ron Paul, “awarding automatic citizenship to children born here minutes after their mothers illegally cross the border” is “a matter of national security.”

Strange as it may be, in some cases you find wisdom and reason in the most unexpected of places.  And this time, it’s from Playboy mansion owner Hugh Hefner, speaking out on his history of involvement with reproductive rights with Fox News:

While Hugh Hefner is best known as the founder of men’s magazine Playboy, over the last six decades, the 84-year-old has also played a particularly prominent role as a political and social activist – a side of him that has been illuminated in Brigitte Berman’s new documentary “Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel.”

In conjunction with his support of women’s rights, Hef’s Playboy Foundation (a non-profit organization he established in1965) also worked to advocate abortion rights across America. In particular, Hefner said he sent his legal team to Florida in 1971 after receiving a letter from a woman who was given a 15-year jail term and accused of manslaughter for having an abortion. The case was then re-opened and the woman was re-sentenced to house arrest for a minimal amount of time, and state abortion laws were later amended.

“We fought for birth control rights and the change in birth control laws, the change in abortion laws, we fought cases to give women the right to choose,” Hefner explained. “For me it was part and parcel of same thing, I fought the same way for gay rights and black rights. I believe in the notion of democracy and the notion of being free. That’s what I believe America should be all about.”

Mini Roundup: 12th and Delaware premired last night.  Some loved it, some thought the portrayal may not have been very accurate.  Did you get a chance to see it?  Tell us what you thought in the comments!

Note: Due to a problem with feeds, we do not have the usual compilation of links today.  We hope to have things up and running again tomorrow. Thank you for your patience.

August 3

Kitzhaber wins backing of abortion rights groups – OregonLive.com
Anti-choice scare tactics – Socialist Worker Online
Women’s advocate wants arbortion legalized – Manila Standard Today
Television review: ’12th and Delaware’ – Los Angeles Times
Abortion Rights Advocates Eye Race For Governor – WSJM
Misoprostol Has Potential For ‘Gynecological Revolution’ In Abortion Access – Medical News Today
The moral panic about kids on the Pill is ridiculous – Telegraph.co.uk (blog)
Female Birth Control: Once a week patch being tested – 33 KDAF-TV
Time to panic? More preteens are on birth control – Salon
An Interview with Naomi Cahn and June Carbone – Bookslut
Unintended consequences: Do birth control pills affect male fish? – La Crosse Tribune
New type of permanent birth control – 10 Connects
Study: Weight not a factor in use of birth control pill – WNCT
State aims to improve women’s reproductive health before pregnancy – Salt Lake Tribune
Indian company makes condom for gay men – Gay NZ
Democratic women legislators pushing to restore $7.5 million for family planning – newjerseynewsroom.com
Bill seeks action to curb brutality against women globally – MiamiHerald.com
Hopes are high as the United Nations launches an agency for women – The Guardian
Zambia: Reasearchers’ HIV gel success claims receive mixed feelings – Lusaka Times
Sex Worker Detained After Rally – Wall Street Journal (blog)
Africa must focus on maternal health: ex-Irish president
In Canada, money may matter for cancer survival – Reuters Canada
Protest in China for legal brothels, organizer held – Washington Post

(VIDEO) Real Sex Ed: Is the Obama Administration Just Playing Games?

Robin Marty

The National Institutes of Health pays for a $434,000 video game in which kids "score" by not kissing boys, money that could have been far better spent on real sex ed.

Move over, Dungeons and Dragons.  Role-playing games are taking on a new life, and in this case, the players are expected to learn more than just creative thinking and how to properly roll 12-sided dice.

This time, they are supposed to learn how to say no to sex.

According to Fox News, Orlando, the University of Central Florida is developing a live action video game particularly targetting Latina teens that will “simulate real everyday situations” in which middle-school-aged girls may find themselves, to help them better prepare to resist potential pressure to have sex. 

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By donning a motion-capture suit, the players get to act out social scenarios that will then play out on the screen, earning points every time they turn down sexual advances.

“They have an opportunity to interact with the avatars and they’ll earn points for particular social skills that they develop.”

Along side UCF’s institute for simulation and training, Professor Anne Norris is creating a virtual game which works by using simulation and digital puppetry. It sounds complicated, but it’s simple technology.

“What’s radically different about this one one person controls many characters by jumping into the skin, ” said Charles Hughes, UCF Computer Science professor.

“A boy similar in age might approach the person playing the game and ask her to make out or there might be some sexual innuendo,” said Norris.

An “interactor,” or a person controlling a character, jumps into the scenario by wearing a motion-capture suit. Infra-red lights shine down and hit markers. Those markers control the movement of the character.

“It’s a place to practice where there aren’t any social consequences,” said Norris.

The game, which is expected to be ready to be tested by real students in the spring, is being paid for with a nearly $435,000 federal grant from the National Institutes of Health.

That would be an abstinence-only grant for the “science and evidence-based” Obama Administration.

As Tracy Clark-Flory over at Broadsheets reports, it’s no surprise that this project would happen in Florida, which has a habit of skimping when it comes to providing comprehensive, age-appropriate and fact-based sexual education to its students, as well as an official state position of “abstinence-only until marriage.”

Essentially, the video game is an elaborate version of the Tamagotchi, only, rather than a small electronic pet you feed and watch grow bigger, the pet is young girls, and you “win” by telling them not to kiss boys. Yet for the same amount of money, Florida could hire ten educators to canvas the state, providing one-on-one counseling with teens struggling with the decision of whether or not to have sex. Those counselors could help protect those already having sex or who later choose to have sex by teaching them about prevention of sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy, self-esteem and sexual negotiation, rather than just have them “score” every time they refuse to kiss a boy.

In the end, like many abstinence-only gimmicks, the actual program is more a show of providing sex ed than an actual plan to truly help young people know, understand, and learn to accept the responsibilties and consequences that come with sex. Much like the purity ring fad, the game is a shiny new face on a program that has been shown repeatedly to just not work.