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Public health sex education time for change.

On January 1, 1998, funding responsibility for public health programs was transferred to Ontario municipalities through the passage of the Services Improvement Act (SIA) which amended the Health Protection and Promotion Act. The SIA gives municipalities a clear mandate for funding public health services and the flexibility to tailor public health programs to meet local needs and priorities. As a result, each Region is now responsible for funding the local public health programs including the Sexual Health Program.

Planned Parenthood programs and services are funded by each Region in the form of grants and salaries through the local Public Health Departments. Today, there is great concern that PP as a special interest group may be contributing to rising STD and abortion rates through their programs by encouraging sexual activity and failure to provide informed consent for abortion minded women.

A girl or a woman who smokes might read on a package of cigarettes. Warning: TOBACCO SMOKE HURTS BABIES. Tobacco use during pregnancy increases the risk of pre-term birth. Tobacco companies are required to give warning labels on no less than 50% of the packaging with an age requirement of 19 for the purchase of cigarettes. With what we now know about the related health risks of smoking, it is generally agreed that warnings help make a responsible decision.

By contrast, a girl or woman might find herself with an unplanned pregnancy. If she goes to a Planned Parenthood office her chances of being referred for an abortion are very high. There is no age restriction and no parental consent required. Does she receive counselling without the health risks of abortion being slighted? It doesn't seem likely, with knowledge of Planned Parenthood's history of abortion referrals.

One cannot find any PP literature with any warning of the danger to a woman's health from abortion: for example, a four times higher rate of hospitalization for infections, a five times higher rate of 'surgical events' post abortion. Nor can you find any indication of problems with depression, psychological conflict and prolonged and unresolved mourning that may distract women from taking care of other health needs. Post abortion syndrome is verified in the New England Journal of Medicine. Recent polls say that 67% of Canadians believe that a woman should have informed consent before she makes a decision to abort.

Forty years ago smoking was seen as the 'classy' thing to do. There was no mention of any health effects. In recent years much has been revealed about life in the womb through ultra-sound imaging. As a result there is increased moral objection to abortion. Eighty-six percent of women who have had abortions say abortion made their lives worse. Knowing the risks of abortion makes it a poor choice.

Planned Parenthood's techniques of counselling are not adequate. Their methods of teaching sex-education have failed to sensitize young women to the value of human life in the womb. Current programs have resulted in rising numbers of abortions, sexually transmitted diseases and repeat abortions.

It is time for change.

What can Regional Councils and Health Councils do?

1) They can direct public funds for specific programs that include informed consent for women with unplanned pregnancies.

2) They can direct public funding toward abstinence education for pre-teens and teens.

The US government has initiated funding for these types of programs for several years. These programs are funded at the district or municipal levels. They have proven to be effective in decreasing the numbers of abortions and STD's everywhere they are implemented.

All of us have a responsibility to try to improve the current conditions. The challenge is for pro-life organizations to request of their Regional Councils and Health Councils to initiate abstinence programs including informed consent in sex-education. Pro-life organizations have qualified teachers and nurses that are willing to partner with Public Health to facilitate these changes.

There is popular support for the Abstinence Message for teens among physicians and educators today. The fall-out of the sexual revolution has brought to bear some ugly realities. Abortion, sexually transmitted diseases along with physical and emotional damage are very common and increasing. Millions of dollars over the past years have been spent on 'safe sex' educational programs. In many ways, these programs have failed. Teens practising sexual abstinence until marriage do not become statistics in public health reports.

Critics of abstinence education for teens have argued it is just an agenda of conservative organizations and churches. However, overwhelming evidence is winning over a growing number of health practitioners, teachers and parents when they learn the scientific facts.

It is time that Public Health tailored their approach by teaching more about abstinence to pre-teens and teens. It is a message that is hitting home with younger people. They are smart enough to know that the only truly 'safe sex' is abstinence until marriage and that they are worth waiting for.

Jane Richard, President of Right to Life, Kitchener-Waterloo, ON, is pressing Waterloo Regional Council and Health Council for change in the area of sex health education.
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Author:Richard, Jane
Publication:Catholic Insight
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2004
Words:836
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