International Sexual Health Guidelines
UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, today "reaffirmed its support for comprehensive sexuality education as an essential component of efforts to protect the health and rights of young people."
International sexuality education guidelines under development by UNESCO and intended to help guide sex education efforts in countries throughout the world, came under fire from members of the far right in the United States and elsewhere who, generally speaking, are against sexual health education per se.
A story in the New York Times last week erronesouly reported that the guidelines were complete and to be released in final form at a meeting in England. Others than reported that UNESCO held back on the release due to criticism from the right. None of these were accurate.
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According to the Sexuality Information and Education Council (SIECUS)
York Times made a number of misrepresentations regarding the
publication of the International
Guidelines on Sexuality Education: An Evidence Informed Approach to Effective
Sex, Relationships, and HIV/STI Education by the United Nation’s
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO)."
First, said SIECUS,
the story vastly overstated the extent of criticism directed
at this ground-breaking document, quoting an extreme, right-wing organization
as well as an obscure local organization in the state of Maryland in the United
States as sources of this disapproval.
The latter organization was formed to address a very local issue and does
not represent a significant or noteworthy constituency. The other is a fully discredited extremist
organization whose theories on population are best suited for science-fiction
novels, not the pages of the New York
The article also "vastly
underestimates the support for this important publication among agencies of the
United Nations system. There are
on-going discussions and processes working themselves through the UN system. We have every confidence that at the
end of the day, the International
Guidelines on Sexuality Education and the implementation of comprehensive
sex education will be fully supported by all UN agencies whose mandates guide
them to promote adolescent health," said a statement by SIECUS.
Calls on UNFPA to clarify its support for these guidelines were answered by a statement on the UNFPA website that states:
“We are mandated by the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) to provide support to governments to protect and promote the rights of adolescents to reproductive health education, information and care,” stated Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, UNFPA’s Executive Director. “We have been supporting national efforts to improve sexual and reproductive health education and services for young people for decades and we will continue to do so.”
LA Times Clarifies "health reform bills do not fund abortions."
As the health care debate rages on, the LA Times joins other newspapers of note in attempting to set the record straight on abortion care as part of health reform.
Since the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe vs. Wade,
every federal health insurance program has become enmeshed in the
debate over federal funding for abortion. This year’s efforts to reform
the healthcare system have triggered a new tussle, with opponents of
abortion claiming that the proposals would change the long-standing
policy against using federal tax dollars to terminate pregnancies. But
the provision that antiabortion groups find so objectionable
would actually have the opposite effect, forcing private insurers to go
further to fund and account for abortion coverage separately from
federally subsidized services.
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