Tag Archives: sex education

Abstinence-Only Education Gives Birth to Arizona’s High Teen Pregnancy Rate

Arizona has an especially high teen-pregnancy rate. Arizona also promotes abstinence-only education in its public schools.

Arizona has an especially high teen-pregnancy rate. Arizona also promotes abstinence-only education in its public schools.

Arizona is known for a lot of things. The Grand Canyon, our universities, beautiful sunsets.

And, oh yeah, our truly awful teen pregnancy rate.

Ranked against the other 49 states, Arizona’s teen-pregnancy rate has been in the top 5 for years. And while you probably won’t see that little factoid emblazoned on a license plate anytime soon, teen pregnancy still has a significant impact on Arizona residents.


Abstinence-only education teaches that the only sure way to prevent pregnancy and STIs is to abstain from sex, which is true. It is also not very helpful to the 70 percent of teenagers who have had intercourse by age 19.


As of 2009, Arizona had the fifth highest teen birth rate in the United States. This trend is on the rise — as of 2006 the rate had increased by 6.5 percent. In 2009, 12,537 teenagers became pregnant. Of those pregnancies, 10,952 resulted in live births. While the majority of those women were either 18 or 19, that’s still about 3,500 girls under the age of 17 giving birth, a number that varies every year but generally stays in the 4000s. Continue reading

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • National Abortion Rates Plateau, While Protests Increase (Time)
  • American parents say: “It’s our job to teach our kids about sex.” (U.S. News & World Report)
  • Highly undesirable anti-abortion bills proposed in FL and NE (Ms. Magazine)
  • Taking birth control pills on a 24-day regimen may be more effective than the standard 21-day regimen. (L.A. Times)
  • What issue dominated state legislative trends in 2010? If you guessed abortion restrictions, you’d be correct! (Guttmacher)
  • One of the many horrors of HPV: oral lesions! Yikes. (Clinical Advisor)
  • Anne Davis MD, MPH, and Medical Director of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, says forcing pregnant women to stay that way ignores medical risks of pregnancy. (NY Times)
  • Legislators trying to restrict access to abortion are nothing if not creative: The state of Maryland may mandate wider doors at clinics knowing they won’t be able to afford them and will be forced to shut down as a consequence. (Change.org: Women’s Rights)
  • Conscience clauses, which allow pharmacists and medical personnel to refuse patients birth control and other medications they believe to be abortifacients, can be deadly according to this article. What puzzles me is why these people would go into a field where such medications are commonly and routinely provided and then assert that it’s “against their personal morals” to dispense these drugs. Isn’t that sort of like me, a vegetarian, purposely getting a job at a steak house where I know meat is served constantly and then refusing to serve customers anything other than vegetables because of my beliefs? I’m pretty sure that not complying with your job description is a terminable offense in any other profession. (Care2)

Marianne is Here Because Sex Ed Matters

Volunteering at the PPAZ office

I believe in Planned Parenthood. I believe in reproductive freedom, the right to choose, medically accurate sexuality education for all people, access to all reproductive medical care options and, especially, freedom from harassment for women who make that choice.

I am here for Planned Parenthood because I remember my high school years. I grew up in Santa Monica, California and I was educated in the Catholic school system. The best part was this was the early to mid-’70s. There was still kind of a ‘hangover’ from the late ’60s to early ’70s with ‘free love’, ‘summer of love’ and Woodstock. The ‘hangover’ was evident in our high school. The school administration was unabashedly liberal. They actually believed that ‘sex ed’ should be more than just some put-upon phys ed instructor, usually the football coach, trying to maintain order amongst a group of giggling teenagers and passing on some hard-won information about reproduction, sexual intercourse, birth and STDs.

The administration set up a balance of courses that the students passed through at each grade level. Freshman usually started with just the regular catechism courses. These taught the church’s position with regard to birth control and the role of sexual intercourse inside and outside marriage. This was required; after all, we were a Catholic high school. Continue reading

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • Study on self-induced abortion in the US finds that many of the women who attempt to self-abort are young teens. Lack of funds is cited as the main reason they didn’t go to a clinic instead (Ibis Reproductive Health)
  • New CDC report finds boys get less sex education than girls (Sociological Images)
  • Alaska Catholics Make Up “Abortion Gift Certificates” Scandal (Care 2 Protect Women’s Rights)
  • African-American women at higher risk of pregnancy-related death (The Grio)
  • States Restrict Health Insurance Coverage of Abortion (Guttmacher)
  • Because innovative birth control methods have been hogged up by humans for too long, there is now a canine version of “The Pill” (ABC 7)
  • Despite how wrongfully they’re demonized, late term abortions are critically necessary procedures for many women (RH Reality Check)

Arizona’s SB1309 Law Has Gutted Sex Education

In May of 2010, Governor Jan Brewer signed into law SB1309, the  so-called “Parental Bill of Rights.”  This bill requires parental consent before a child or teen can receive sex education in school.  This law also requires Arizona schools to notify parents when material regarding “sexuality” is presented in non-sex education classes, such as biology. Proponents of the law say this bill will ensure that the government does not intrude on parents’ child rearing.  The Arizona Board of Education says that it will be up to the local school governing boards to implement the law.

Before the passage of SB 1309, Arizona did not require sex education.  Local school boards decided which subjects this education would cover and the grade level in which topics are introduced.  If sex education was taught, it had to be age appropriate.  Abstinence had to be covered and stressed as the only effective protection against unplanned pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS, and abstinence from sexual intercourse outside of lawful marriage was the expected social standard for unmarried school-age person.  This is from the 1996 Welfare Reform Act that had provisions added for abstinence education. The federal government then began to divert tens of millions of dollars to abstinence education programs.  Most programs were tied to religious programs, rather than traditional public health organizations.

Arizona is one of three states that now require parental consent for sex education.  The other two states are Utah and Nevada.  The Guttmacher Institute says 35 states – including the District of Columbia – mandate that students learn about sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS. Arizona is also ranked last in the nation in education funding.

The result?  Continue reading

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • Arizona teens are not learning about safe sex in school (AZ Daily Star)
  • Eight virus types responsible for majority of cervical cancer cases (Reuters)
  • Jan Brewer continues to fail the women of Arizona: 400,000 AZ Women Lose Health Exams to Budget Cuts (Public News Service)
  • Still no credible evidence that abortion, in and of itself, causes mental health problems for most women (Guttmacher)
  • Ten states with the highest number of teen moms- unfortunately Arizona is one of them (ABC News)
  • Abortion not the cause of the low rates of adoption in recent years (Center for American Progress)
  • IUD’s may help treat endometrial cancer, the most common cancer of the female reproductive system (MSNBC)

10 Things Every Woman Should Know About John McCain

John McCain has been Arizona’s senator for 25 years. Here’s what John McCain has said and done over the course of his time in the senate in regards to women’s health.

1. John McCain opposes equal pay legislation, saying it wouldn’t do “anything to help the rights of women.”

2. John McCain opposes legislation requiring health care plans to cover prescription birth control.

3. John McCain opposes comprehensive, medically accurate sex education.

4. John McCain opposes common sense funding to prevent unintended and teen pregnancies.

5. John McCain opposes funding for public education about emergency contraception. Continue reading