Young parents see a brighter future with Colorado comprehensive sex-ed bill

Expectant parents; Emma and Michael  want their son to learn to respect himself and others while growing up.   They believe that comprehensive sex education in school is one way to promote that belief.

BERRY:  What do Colorado House Bill 1081 and the Steubenville Rape Trial  have in common?  Absolutely nothing, because comprehensive sex education teaches children to respect one another’s bodies and Steubenville is an example of what happens when no one shows any respect.

“I wasn’t being a slut. They were taking advantage of me.” text from sixteen-year old Steubenville rape victim’s phone to friends.

BERRY:  Expectant parents; Emma and Michael didn’t have the benefit of comprehensive sex education.  Like many people, they relied on friends and books for their information.

EMMA:  There was never any talks about that.

MICHAEL: My dad never talked to me about that.  I talked to my cousin about that and that’s weird.

EMMA:  See, my mom gave me a book and the book answered a lot of my questions. Which was also another reason I think a lot of my friends came to me because none of my friends parents talked about any of that stuff with them.

MICHAEL:  You were more educated.

BERRY: Steubenville is a painful reminder of the unfinished business we have about sex and rape.   While comprehensive sex education can’t guarantee that another Steubenville won’t happen, it does give children a framework for healthy relationships based on respect and knowledge.

Like most parents Emma and Michael want a better future for their unborn son, Jacob.  They believe that comprehensive sex education is one of the tools they can give him to make sure that he does have a better future.

EMMA:  You know when you get around, you can raise your child as well as you think so.  But when it comes to other parents you don’t know how they’re going to raise them.  So the good thing about having something in a school system it really, you know,’cause how are kids supposed to know if something bad is happening to them sexually or otherwise, if it’s not explained to them.  Ignorance is bliss, but not with children.

MICHAEL:  Right, exactly.

This is Genevieve Berry.

In Weld County A New Plan B

A recent Google search “Does Plan B Cause Abortions?” netted 2,300,000 results in 0.31 seconds. In July, 2010, Weld County Commissioners used two reports and one article found on the Internet to decide that Plan B could cause abortions and instructed their Title X clinics to stop dispensing emergency contraception (EC). They made this decision, sans medical training and public comments while rejecting their own executive director’s expert medical opinion.

Plan B is one of two emergency contraceptives available in the U.S. and is regularly dispensed through Title X clinics designed to serve low-income and uninsured women.

Responding to the Commissioner’s decision, Dr. Mark Wallace, executive director of Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment (WCDPHE), reminded them that the county was responsible for ensuring access to Plan B if they wanted to keep Title X funding; “when referring clients out for emergency contraception, the Department must ensure that there is not a barrier to client receiving product, and typically, a voucher is provided as entry into another location.”

Eric Aakko, a WCDPHE representative said, “Today when women come to the clinic seeking EC we refer them out to one of three resources; their health care provider, a pharmacy or Planned Parenthood.” He did not mention vouchers and Monica McCafferty, spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, confirmed that clients referred to their clinics by the health department do not come with vouchers in exchange for EC.

Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center (BVWHC) is a Title X clinic that serves clients in Boulder and Broomfield counties. When asked about the decision, Lisa Radelet, BVWHC’s Communications Manager said “It’s really concerning that the Weld County Commissioners would make a decision like this based on bad science and a mistaken belief that Plan B is abortion. It is not. As their own medical expert told them, Plan B cannot end a pregnancy — it can only prevent pregnancy. It’s even more troubling if the Commissioners’ solution is to simply refer patients elsewhere without any way for the patient to pay. For patients who get their care at the county health department, cost is a barrier. It can mean the difference between accessing emergency contraception vs. simply crossing their fingers in hopes they won’t get pregnant.”

Are finger crossing lessons the new Plan B in Weld County? Perhaps only for women who can’t afford the County Commissioner’s decisions.

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