DENVER — Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, with 24 health centers throughout Colorado, is working to raise awareness about the need for Congress to fully fund medically accurate, age-appropriate sex education for all teens during a week of action (Sept. 28 – Oct. 2) called Sex Education: Protecting Our Future.
Amid the news that the United States has the highest rate of teen pregnancy of the most developed countries in the world and that at least one in four teenage girls has a sexually transmitted disease, Planned Parenthood affiliates and PPRM’s Advocates for Choice (A4C) campus chapters are sponsoring grassroots events and contacting elected officials to urge them to fully fund sex education to address these public health issues.
“An estimated 729,000 teenagers are expected to become pregnant this year, and nearly four million will contract a STD,” said PPRM President and CEO Vicki Cowart. “To reduce these alarmingly high numbers, teens in Colorado should have access to comprehensive, age-appropriate information and education, giving them resources to make responsible decisions about their health and their lives.”
PPRM is a recognized regional leader in advancing and providing comprehensive, medically accurate and age-appropriate sex education. PPRM offers short and long-term programs, which target individuals of all ages. In 2008, PPRM educators reached 17,869 people in Colorado alone through 1,960 education sessions, working with 200 diverse collaborators including school districts and religious organizations. PPRM is also a member of the Healthy Colorado Youth Alliance, a statewide coalition recently formed to increase access to comprehensive sex education.
In the last decade, more than $1.5 billion federal and state dollars were wasted on what was proven to be dangerous abstinence-only programs that deny teenagers lifesaving information. The Obama administration has ended funding for ineffective abstinence-only programs.
Recently, a study by the Guttmacher Institute found that most federally funded abstinence-only programs do not help delay teens’ sexually activity. In contrast, the study reports comprehensive sex education programs had a positive impact and should be more widely used.
A nationwide study conducted by the University of Washington found that teens who had comprehensive sex education were less likely to become teen parents than teens who had no sex education or who were in abstinence-only programs.
At the federal level, President Obama and a majority in the U.S. Congress are supporting medically accurate, age-appropriate sex education, which helps reduce teen pregnancy, by including it in their budget appropriations bills.
As a health care provider, Planned Parenthood knows firsthand the power of education to help teens make responsible decisions about their health. Every year, PPRM provides more than 127,000 women, men, and teens with the health care and information they need to prevent unintended pregnancy and protect their health.
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