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President Obama Just Took a Big Step for Sex Education

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February 19, 2016

Bless you, Barack Obama.

This week, President Obama sent the U.S. Senate his proposed budget for fiscal year 2017, and he made a huge step for reproductive justice. Obama’s proposed budget cuts funding for abstinence-only sex education programs.

Currently, this education is being funded by a $10 million grant from the Department of Health and Human Services. It is safe to say this grant has been a complete waste of time and has set sex education back decades.

Up to this point, abstinence-only sex education has been encouraged and utilized in schools because of the funding it was receiving; this is obviously problematic. Students have been missing out on sex education that is actually informative because school districts want more money. This means young people have been inadequately informed about STIs, contraception, and abortion.

Studies have proven time and time again this type of sex education has failed our young people.This cut to abstinence-only funding could, hopefully, cause a shift to better sex education that is actually informative.

That education should include a variety of aspects and lessons.

The first of these is contraception, because young people need to know their options for pregnancy prevention. The reality is, the majority of teenagers are not waiting until they are married to have sex anymore. They are having sex at a younger age, and need to learn about contraceptives and pregnancy prevention. Don’t get me wrong, abstinence is still a very viable option for people, and people absolutely have a right to make that choice, and they should not be shamed for that. However, it should not be the ONLY option taught in schools.

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In the instance these contraceptives fail, students need to learn about safe and legal abortions and access to them in their home state (even if it is dwindling) so they know what to do if they do become pregnant. Unwanted pregnancies happen and young people need to be informed about their options.

From here, sex education can only improve, and for the sake of our future I really hope it does. My hope is that more comprehensive sex education will create a generation that is even more passionate about reproductive justice than mine is now. I hope that real sex education will raise people consciousness so that no one is ashamed for seeking abortion or contraception, and that a respect for all people’s rights to their bodies is fully recognized. This new budget proposal is another step in creating a cultural shift and getting rid of the stigma against abortion and contraception.

America has a chance to catch up with the rest of the world in the sex education field. We finally have a chance at creating real sex education, not just an anti-sex class.

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