Roundup: Americans Strongly Oppose Bush HHS Proposal

Brady Swenson

89% of more than 100,000 Americans surveyed in an informal online poll oppose Bush's proposed anti-contraception regulations, How to fix sex-ed in the US, Finally repealing the HIV immigration ban will require action from HHS.

Americans Overwhelmingly Against Bush’s Proposed Anti-contraception Regulations … Two unscientific but telling polls conducted on AOL’s news website and US News and World Report’s site both say that 89% of respondents are against proposed regulations that would equate contraception with abortion effectively limiting access to birth control pills, IUDs and other common forms of contraception.  Over 100,000 people have responded to the AOL poll while the US News and World Report poll does not give the total number of respondents.  These huge margins are not restricted to the most liberal states, either.  The AOL poll reveals that in every single state those stating opposition to the Bush regulations range from 87% – 95% of respondents in any given state. 

How to Fix Sex Ed in America … Violet Blue has an excellent article today on SFGate giving a president Obama the prescription to heal America’s ailing sex education system.  Violet first notes the reason for change in sex ed curriculum: 

The United States has the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the developed world, and American adolescents are contracting HIV faster than almost any other demographic group. Texas, with
all those great abstinence-only textbooks, has
the highest rate of teen births in the nation. And, duh — abortion rates
are lowest in states where teens have access to accurate contraception
information. In April 2007, a 20-page
Columbia University study
exposed that abstinence curriculum statements
about condom use are medically inaccurate. The American Civil Liberties Union,
tired of the Department of Health and Human Services ignoring repeated warnings
about incorrect data, sent the department a letter
threatening legal action
. The ACLU is currently trying to get the DHHS to
stop disseminating incorrect information — because doing so violates
federal law

Then she offers a five plank plan to create a more comprehensive, reality-based sex education curriculum:

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  • Kill the abstinence
    programs. Period. Think of them as creationism in schools: optional to
    include in curricula but privately funded only. Fire the f— out of
    anyone with a religious agenda in a position of power in relation to
    public health. We are a nation of many faiths — most of which are not
    being served with this nonsense.
  • My best friend’s daughter is 5, and brags that she has a
    boyfriend. Craft programs that are age appropriate so kids understand
    what they’re doing every step of the way. Take a cue from England,
    where the Sex
    and Relationship Education program centers on "All About Us: Living and
    Growing" videos for 5-7-year-olds, 7-9-year-olds and 9-11-year-olds,
    with workbooks about healthy sexual relationships for kids (and adults)
    with learning disabilities
  • Require all sex ed programs to include practical
    information about reproduction (including a woman’s right to choose and
    male responsibilities of parenthood), contraception, STDs and STIs,
    sexual pleasure, masturbation, consent, homosexuality, sexual
    tolerance, and gender identity. Kids are dealing with all this stuff;
    adults need to stop lying to themselves and have honest discourse with
    kids about it.
  • Set aside federal funding for a teen sex ed counselor to be
    on school staff at all times, exclusively for hotline-style accurate
    sex information, and completely confidential. Our kids’ health and
    futures depend on it. Require that they are tech- and Internet-savvy.
  • Create a task force to research and implement outreach
    programs that visit schools for presentations on relevant and current
    sexual issues. This could include the Gardasil vaccination
    (HPV shot), presentations on transgender issues, workshops on sexual
    consent, rape prevention and self-defense for girls, age-appropriate
    sex ed books, religious faith and sexuality, and sexual questions
    around — yes — political scandals.

Voters in California Support Parental Notification of Abortion … A recent Field Poll shows a 9% margin for requiring parental notification for minors to obtain abortion care in California.  The margin of error was 5.6%.  

incarnations of parental notification measures were defeated twice in
California in 2005 and 2006. Has there been an attitude shift?

say it is a shift in language. A newly added provision would allow
teens in abusive home situations to have their physician notify another
family member that they’re seeking an abortion.

Previous ballot measures required teens to notify their parents, regardless of whether they came from an abusive home.

was designed to address the concerns raised about girls from abusive
homes," said Katie Short, co-author of Proposition 4 and legal director
for the Life Legal Defense Foundation. "This assuages a lot of peoples’
concerns. The opposition played directly to that fear last time, and
we’ve addressed it. If people pay attention to the details and don’t
just see this as ‘oh, here we go again,’ we should win."

A Shameful Ban … The version of the PEPFAR bill that passed last week in the Senate included an amendment to finally rid America of a shameful ban on HIV positive immigrants.  The ban was instituted in 1984 when we knew little about how the disease was spread.  While we quickly learned that HIV is not spread through casual contact the ban has remained on the books all these intervening years.  The Washington Post considers the PEPFAR amendment in an editorial today reporting that the amendment grants Congressional auhtority to Department of Health and Human Services to repeal the ban but leaves the decision up to HHS.  While HHS is not on our good side at the moment after the proposing of severely anti-contraception regulations last week we do hope they will take the final step to strike down a shameful ban.  



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