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Monday, July 25, 2011

"SAY" Advocacy Training Review: Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy

Review of Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy

Birth Control Policy:

· Birth control is defined as any method that is used to protect a woman from getting pregnant.

· In the 1800s birth control was illegal in the United States.

· The Comstock Law was passed by Congress, making distribution of birth control devices and sending information about birth control through the mail illegal.

· Margaret Sanger was a strong advocate of birth control.

-She opened the country’s first birth control clinic in New York City in 1916.

-She established the National Committee for Federal Legislation of Birth Control.

-She proposed a bill to reverse the prohibition of birth control.

-She founded the American Birth Control League which today is known as Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

· Planned Parenthood funded Dr. Gregory Pincus in support of his research to develop a birth control pill.

· In 1965 the Supreme Court got involved with the birth control controversy.

· In 1966, the federal government began public funding of contraceptive services for low-income families.

Plan B:

· Plan B is not an abortion pill; it is a form of contraception.

· Plan B works by stopping ovulation so that a pregnancy cannot occur.

· If a woman has unprotected sex and a fertilized egg does form, Plan B may prevent the egg from implanting in the uterus and therefore prevent a pregnancy.

· United States law says that you cannot purchase Plan B if you are under the age of 17, unless you have a prescription.

Roe v. Wade (Abortion Policy):

· Jane Roe (actually Norma McCorvey) was an unmarried pregnant woman from Texas who tried to get an abortion, but was denied under Texas law.

· Roe argued that the law was unconstitutional and violated her right to privacy.

· The Court agreed with Roe, but also held that states have a right to protect potential human life.

· Because of the conflicting rights, the Court divided the pregnancy into three 12-week trimesters.

· In the first trimester, a state cannot regulate abortion besides requiring that the procedure me done by a licensed doctor in medically safe conditions.

· In the second trimester, a state may regulate abortion if the regulations are reasonably related to the pregnant woman’s health.

· In the third trimester, s state may prohibit abortion unless it is necessary to save the life or health of the mother.

Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Policy:

· Abstinence-only programs are programs that do not teach about safe sex, contraceptives, etc.; these programs only teach abstinence (abstinence-only-until-marriage).

· Over $1 billion in government funding has been spent to teach these abstinence-only programs in public schools.

· Government research has shown that abstinence-only programs have not changed the statistics of initiation of sex (at what age young people begin having sex).

· Sexual health education policy has changed since President Obama has been in office.

· There is a push for more comprehensive sexual health education in schools.

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