Being a native New Yorker who's raising my children here in the Empire state, I'm keeping a close eye on whether the NY Healthy Teens Act passes this year.
The Healthy Teens Act proposal would set up a grant program for school districts and community groups who want to provide "age-appropriate, medically accurate" sexual education. Programs would have to:
*Teach that abstinence is the only sure way to avoid pregnancy and STDs but not ignore sexually-active students.
*Provide the pros and cons of different types of contraception.
*Not teach or promote religion.
*Encourage a dialogue between parents and teens.
*Provide information about the human papillomavirus - HPV - to help prevent cervical cancer and other reproductive health problems.
*Teach how alcohol and drug use can affect responsible decision-making.
Sounds pretty durn good to me! Especially considering that New York has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the nation, with 40,000 teens becoming pregnant each year.
Although this bill sailed through the State Assembly (four years in a row!) it's been stalled each year in the NY State Senate. Hmmm ... that's 160,000 unplanned pregnancies that could have possibly been prevented, and countless STD's.
So hopefully, this will be the year the for The Healthy Teens Act.
In the meantime, Mamas, while a bill that could empower kids with information sits stagnating in Albany, we have riveting stories like this and of course, this to keep us entertained.
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