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For years, research has shown that comprehensive sexual education programs are better at preventing teen pregnancy and STIs than abstinence-only-until-marriage efforts. Now, educators can rely on new standards for teaching effective health education. The standards were designed in a cooperative effort by expert health education organizations and provide clear, age-appropriate guidelines for content on topics including sexuality, reproduction, puberty, STIs, and healthy relationships. Teachers will be able to provide students of all ages with information needed to develop into healthy and sexually responsible adults.

Good news for working moms everywhere! Federal law now requires most employers to provide women with a reasonable amount of break time and a secluded setting other than a bathroom for breastfeeding and/or pumping at work. Last year, after employees at a major retail store criticized a woman for breastfeeding in public, women on the West Coast organized a "nurse-in" in protest. The new law will protect the women's rights to care for and feed their children.

In 2011, Governor Martin O'Malley (D-MD) approved the "Family Planning Works Act" for Maryland residents. This law expands eligibility for Medicaid services so more low-and moderate-income women can access affordable STI testing, birth control, cancer screenings, and other preventive services. Democrat and Republican state legislators alike agreed that these services improve the health of women and their families, and make economic sense by saving tax-payer dollars that would be spent on treatment and social services. Let's hope the Federal government realizes that family planning and other preventive care services save both lives and money.
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Publication:Women's Health Activist
Date:Mar 1, 2012
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