Em-URGE-ing Voices

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It’s Raining Bibles but where are the Contraceptives?

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January 25, 2013

Just recently in Orange County, Fla., the dear old county where I’ve resided since entering college, a group of individuals from World Changers of Florida was allowed the ability to “passively” provide bibles in schools. Passive distribution in this situation means that the World Changers cannot speak with students about them but have them available to anyone who asks. This struck a deep cord because providing the option to have Bibles in high schools is vital, but individuals in the upper echelons of the school system don’t find the importance or urgency in providing the same or similar access to contraceptives. Orange County is an abstinence-only until marriage county and receives Title V as well as Community Based Abstinence Education funding. This approach to sexual education leaves students to go on wild goose hunts when it comes to obtaining safe sexual health education. Students are forced to learn about sexual education from their peers, the internet or other sources. Many of these sources provide inaccurate information that proves to be more harmful than helpful for these young people.

It’s absolutely mind boggling as well as a little scary that so many are willing to go to court for the right to leave bibles on tables around school as an option, but don’t feel the same about providing options for students to protect themselves from STIs and unintended pregnancies. It pisses me off when society at large turns a blind eye to the health and well- being of youth people. These individuals are providing literature for only one singular religion, but won’t listen when young people verbalize what literature they want to have access to. Instead, youth are talked at or talked down to, and never listened to. I for one would have loved to have had the opportunity to discuss what I really needed and wanted to learn about, instead of having to sit through a crash course of biased bullshit on how bad sex is before marriage, and some grotesque pictures of diseases with complicated names.

My whole inspiration and subsequent point for writing this is to say that if we can enable groups to “passively” distribute bibles why can’t there be a program where the health department provides access to contraception, but only if young people seek it out. Qualified personnel could be available for answering anonymous questions and seeing students that have medically necessary emergencies, and information would be available if students want to learn more.

If you can pay to decorate schools  and support sports teams, then there should be money that is able to be allocated for these important resources. In 2007 alone, Florida received 12,949,133 dollars of federal funding for abstinence-only education programs. If even a portion of that was used to fund comprehensive sex education that is evidenced based and not biased there would be a lot of improvement seen in the amount of young people diagnosed with STIs annually. It’s about time those here in Orlando and society at large stops getting it confused. It’s not about what you want kids to be taught and to do or not do, it’s about providing them with the education for what they may do anyway. I think that if you provide literature that is so crucial to one religion, you should provide contraceptives with accurate information. Young people are screaming for comprehensive sex education and access to contraceptives, it’s about time we actually listened and did something about it.

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