Comprehensive sexuality education refers to sequential learning between grades K-12, where young people are building education and skills related to medically-accurate and scientific topics that are age, developmentally, and culturally appropriate and related to a host of sexual health issues. These issues include human development, healthy relationships, communication, pregnancy and reproduction, HIV and STD prevention, and sexual health and behaviors, including abstinence. The goal of sex education is to equip young people with the skills and knowledge they need to live sexually healthy lives. So why is it such a contentious battleground in the U.S.? Jesse Boyer with the Guttmacher Institute talks to us about sex education across the country.
Crisis Pregnancy Centers are centers that exist to deter pregnant women from receiving abortions. They provide pregnancy tests, anti-abortion counseling and material resources for pregnant women. There are an estimated 2,750 Crisis Pregnancy Centers serving 2.3 million people in the United States today. This number might seem high, but it is actually a low and out of date estimate from 2010. In this episode, we talk to Amy Myrick with the Center for Reproductive Rights about Supreme Court case National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra and what it would mean for Brett Kavanaugh to replace Justice Kennedy.
Title X is the national family planning and reproductive health program for low income women and men enacted by Congress and signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1970. The bipartisan program was intended to combat the war on poverty; low income women were having more children than higher income women due to poor access to contraception and its high costs. Title X was created to equalize access to modern contraceptive care, and the program still fulfils that promise today. Clare Coleman, President of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA), talks to us about NFPRHA, Title X, and what we can do to save Title X from the current administration’s unprecedented attacks.
Meghla Akter was almost forced into marrying a 30 year old man at 13, when her mother threatened to kill herself if she didn’t go through with the marriage. She managed to escape to a friend’s house, where she took refuge. Her mother refused to talk to her for three months and restricted her education. With time, Meghla was able to return to school and about to start at university.
At 18, she wants to help other girls and boys who are facing similar situations. Meghla currently serves as the vice-chairperson of the World Vision’s Child Forum, where she works to prevent child marriage in Bangladesh. Listen to Meghla’s interview here!
In Rajasthan, India, child marriage is a tradition. But, the practice isn’t limited only to the one northwestern state; while child marriage is a global issue, India has the highest number of child brides in the world. While over the last decade, India has witnessed one of the largest declines in child marriage rates, it is estimated that 27% (down from 50%) of girls in India are married before their 18th birthday. Arvind Ojha with Urmul Trust and one of the founding members of Girls Not Brides talks to us about how child marriage specifically impacts young girls in India.
Nearly 1 in 4 girls across Latin America and the Caribbean are married before the age of 18. Girls who are at the highest risk of getting married as a child are usually from poorer homes in rural areas, or from indigenous groups. Latin America and the Caribbean is the only region in the world where there has been no significant decline or change in rates of child marriage in the last 30 years. Perla Vasquez with the Central American Mexican Youth Fund talks to us about child marriage in Latin America and how this discourse differs from other regions of the world.
Every year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18, according to data from the UN. That breaks down to 23 girls getting married every minute. Child marriage is a violation of girls’ human rights and can have severe, lifelong physical, mental, emotional and financial consequences. It leaves young girls particularly vulnerable to rape, maternal and child mortality, and gender based violence. It also often forces girls to put aside their education, potential, and empowerment for a limited future. We sit down with Gayatri Patel and Nidal Karim from CARE USA to talk about child marriage.
Every person, no matter who they are and where they live, should be able to make basic health decisions about their lives. Reproductive health and rights are both a domestic and international issue; we cannot talk about one without the other. But, attempting to keep up-to-date on the global fight on reproductive health can often be overwhelming. Helping us bridge that gap is Chloe Cooney with Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Because both in the United States and abroad, the intention behind every policy that limits reproductive health is an attack on women’s rights.
The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is a program that was born from bipartisan legislation in 2003 under George W. Bush’s administration. It was the biggest global health investment for a single disease by any country in the world, and still is today. We sit down with Caitlin Horrigan from Planned Parenthood Federation of America to discuss the evolution of PEPFAR, the ways in which it has provided care for HIV/AIDS patients around the world, and the attacks it is now facing from the Trump administration.
Bodily autonomy, the ability to plan if and when you have children, the ability to plan your pregnancy and family without government intrusion, and avoiding societal oppression and discrimination are issues that intertwine the LGBTQ+ community with reproductive health. Why should the LGBTQ+ community care about comprehensive access to reproductive health care? Because complete liberation includes being fully in charge of your own body and ability to plan your family, as Candace Bond-Theriault with the National LGBTQ Task Force tells us.