Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Catch Up!

I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving! Unfortunately, I was under the weather most of the weekend, but of course that didn’t stop me from eating non-stop! It did, however, stop me from blogging – sorry! But I’m back and have lots of interesting things to report that may be a little out dated so forgive me!

1). It really bothers me that people often forget about adolescents when it comes to discussing reproductive rights, and dare I say it – abortion. But the fact of the matter is that teenagers have sex and sometimes make risky decisions, so when I saw this article in London’s Daily Telegraph I was extremely impressed. In turns out that in the UK, the Family Planning Association has made it a priority to look out for the rights of young women and educate them on their right to choose an abortion. The group is urging schools to show girls a film called Why Abortion? that shows a range of scenarios that tackle the issue of abortion which are then debated by Northern Ireland teens. In the U.S., women under 18 can’t even buy emergency contraception! Maybe with our new President we’ll begin to give teens more reproductive choices.

Make sure you check out this article!

2). When I went abroad my junior year of college I was afraid to go to Amsterdam. I couldn’t imagine walking through the infamous racy Red Light district with women lined up in windows on the street luring men in for peeps shows or live sex shows. Anyway, I never realized that this openness with sex could have a positive effect until I read this article in the Times (London). Now, don’t get the wrong idea – I don’t believe in the whole empowering philosophy behind women flaunting their bodies, but when it comes to talking to teens about sexuality, the Netherlands is blowing us all out of the water. In fact, they have the lowest teen pregnancy rate in the West and the lowest rates of sexually transmitted diseases among young people! Now, the UK will look to the Dutch as an example as the country tries to reduce the number of abortions.

Check out this excerpt from the article:

Next year, 12-year-old Sasha explains to me, they will learn how to put a condom on a broomstick (she says this without a trace of embarrassment, just a polite smile). Across the city, nine-year-old Marcus, who lives in a beautiful 18th-century house on a canal, has been watching a cartoon showing him how to masturbate. His sister, 11, has been writing an essay on reproduction and knows that it is legal for two consenting 12-year-olds to make love. Her favourite magazine, Girls, gives advice on techniques in bed, and her parents sometimes allow her to stay up to see a baby being born on the birthing channel.

Then there is Yuri, 16, who explains to me in perfect English that “anal sex hurts at the beginning but if you persevere it can be very pleasurable”. When I ask whether he is gay, he says “no” but he has watched a documentary on the subject with his parents.

Do any of these scenarios ring true in the U.S.? I think not!

Some other interesting findings from the article:

In the Netherlands – at secondary school sex education is formalised and children are shown how to use various types of contraceptive and how to have “safe and pleasurable sex.

In the U.S. - President Bush proposes that funding for abstinence-only programs reach $270 million by 2009.

In the Netherlands – the average teenager loses his or her virginity 17.1 years old.

In the UK – the average teenager loses his or her virginity at 16.

In the Netherlands - about 93% of young people use contraception.

In the UK – 53% of young people use contracpetion.

Seriously check out this article! It looks like being open about sex with teens works! Who knew?

3). Planned-Parenthood of Indiana is offering holiday vouchers for basic healthcare services for the network of 35 clinics across the state. The vouchers can be used for exams, insurance co-pays, medication, including birth control, and even abortions. This move has angered many pro-life folks (surprise, surprise), but I think it’s fantastic! Yay PP!

Ok well that’s all for now! Comments welcomed and encouraged!