March 2017 News Round Up

A way to keep more Texas students in college

There’s many reasons students don’t finish college. Rising costs, shifting degree plans, and difficulty balancing work and school, are among them. For young women in Texas there’s a different — and preventable — reason they don’t finish school: pregnancy. In Texas, we have the fifth-highest rate of teen pregnancy in the nation. Most of these pregnancies are unintended and happen at a critical time in a youth’s life — when finishing high school or beginning college. In fact, 18 and 19 year olds account for the highest rate of teen pregnancy in Texas. Click here to read more.


The looming threat to sex education: A resurgence of federal funding for abstinence-only programs?
Over the last decade, federal funding for adolescent sexual health programming has shifted away from abstinence-only-until-marriage programs and toward more comprehensive programming intended to prevent pregnancy, HIV and other STIs among adolescents. These programs may be on the chopping block as some members of Congress seek to redirect federal dollars back into harmful programs focused exclusively on promoting abstinence. Click here to read more.


Experts find strong case for making ‘the pill’ available over the counter

A team of health experts is recommending that the pill become available over the counter in the U.S. without restrictions on teenage use. A Johns Hopkins-led review cites evidence that teens are capable of safely and properly using oral contraceptives to prevent unwanted pregnancies. The team of experts reviewed decades worth of scientific and regulatory research supporting the switch in oral contraceptives from prescription-only to over-the-counter. Their findings are published in The Journal of Adolescent Health. Click here to read more.


Texas’ plan to increase access to IUDs still faces hurdles. Advocates want a game plan
For more than a year now, health officials have been trying to improve access to long-acting reversible contraceptives, such as IUDs, for women who want them. But there have been some pretty big hurdles, particularly at hospitals in Texas. The root of the problem facing hospitals is mostly operational. Click here to read more.
Birth Control Is Working Better – Or At Least, It’s Failing Less
Contraceptive failure rates for all of the most common contraceptives (think: the pill, condoms, and IUDs) fell from 2006-2010, according to the most recent data collected for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Survey of Family Growth. Overall, the one-year failure rate for forms of contraception dropped from 12 percent in 2002, the last time the data was collected, to about 10 percent. For some methods, the drop was much larger; others saw smaller declines. The decliner was more pronounced if you look back to 1995, when the overall failure rate for all methods was nearly 15 percent. Click here to read more.


The Source: Could Access To Sex Education Curb Texas’ Teen Birth Rate?
More than 80 percent of the state’s public school districts are not teaching sex education or exclusively teach abstinence-only methods, according to a recent report from watchdog group The Texas Freedom Network. Twenty-five percent of Texas public school districts offered no sex education at all during the 2015-16 school year, the report reveals, and nearly 60 percent of districts used abstinence-only programs over the same period. In a recent radio interview, experts including the study’s co-author, provide their thoughts on the study and what’s next for Texas’ sexuality education efforts.  Click here to read more and to listen to the program.


Pitting abstinence vs. contraception won’t help avoid teen pregnancies
If our true goal is to prevent teen pregnancy, it is important that we put our ideologies aside and look to the evidence about what will help us continue the enormous progress we have seen in recent years. And the evidence is clear: pitting abstinence versus contraception as strategies to help teens avoid too-early pregnancy and parenthood is not productive. Click here to read more.


Around the world

  • Maryland House approves ‘yes means yes’ requirement for sex education
    Maryland’s House of Delegates on Saturday approved legislation that would require public schools to teach a “yes means yes” standard for sexual consent, moving the state one step closer to becoming only the second to adopt such a mandate. Click here to read more.
  • Shock and praise for groundbreaking sex-ed textbook in China
    A big step forward for a country long criticized for depriving children of necessary sex education, or graphic bordering on pornographic? That’s the question being asked in China over a series of textbooks aimed at children ages 6 to 13. Published by Beijing Normal University, and the product of over nine years of testing, the books are currently in use in 18 elementary schools in the Chinese capital, and are being sold in bookshops. Click here to read more.
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