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 This number might seem high, but it is actually a low and out of date estimate from 2010.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.
The sex work population is one of the most marginalized and stigmatized; on a daily basis, sex workers face consistent human rights abuses, like increased rates of violence and lack of access to primary and reproductive healthcare. Preston Mitchum with Advocates for Youth sits down with us to explain this lack of access to healthcare and how it impacts an already extremely vulnerable population of people both in the United States and abroad.
A religious refusal is when a healthcare provider refuses to provide or facilitate healthcare because it goes against their personal religious beliefs. This most often impacts services like abortion, miscarriage management, contraception prescriptions/procedures, HIV/AIDS treatment, and hormone therapy that women and LGBTQ+ people disproportionately require. Healthcare providers can ever refuse to provide information about healthcare conditions or referrals for appropriate care. Refusal to provide information and services translates to discrimination based on identity and orientation, and can put a patient’s life in danger. Rachel Easter from National Women’s Law Center discusses religious refusals and how they are shaping the world of healthcare.
Women in the U.S. are more likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth related causes than women in other developed countries. Unfortunately, this is disproportionately felt by black women. Jamila Taylor, Senior Fellow with Center for American Progress, sits down with us to explain why black women are more likely to die from childbirth or pregnancy related causes than white women by an outrageous 243 percent.
200 million girls in 30 countries have undergone female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and 13 million girls under the age of 15 are at risk of undergoing FGM/C. Dr. Jacinta Muteshi-Strachan, FGM researcher with Population Council, sits down with us to discuss FGM/C and the impacts surrounding this severe violation of the human rights of girls and women around the world.
Worldwide, 1 in 3 women will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. Tarah Demant with Amnesty International talks to us about gender-based violence, its ties to sexual and reproductive health and rights, and what it looks like throughout the world.
When a person crosses a border, they still carry fundamental human rights- including the right to choose if, when, and how they have a family. Bethany Van Kampen from the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health discusses the reproductive health needs of migrants fleeing their home countries and how these needs are failing to be met in the United States.
In 1994, the United Nation’s Population Fund (UNFPA) held the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, Egypt. The idea of population shifted from demographic trends and numbers to individuals that have a right to determine and plan their family size. Ensuring the empowerment of women and girls around the world became the resulting plan of action. Sarah Craven, the Washington representative for UNFPA, talks to us about the ideal family planning scenario around the world; every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person can live their life with full potential.
January 22, 2018 marked the 45th anniversary of the passage of the Supreme Court ruling Roe w. Wade. There’s no question that the landmark ruling is under attack; 401 abortion restrictions have passed since January of 2011.We sit down with Dr. Jamila Perritt, an OB-GYN and fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Health, to discuss the restrictive legislation that is gaining popularity with anti-choice legislators and has already passed the House: the 20-week abortion ban.
Next week marks the one year anniversary of the reinstatement of one of the most pressing reproductive health issues today, the inhumane policy known as the Global Gag Rule, which undermines family planning efforts and threatens the health and lives of individuals and families abroad. Beirne Roose-Snyder, Public Policy Director for Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), talks to us about the dangerous impact of the rule.
In this episode, Mara Gandal-Powers with the National Women’s Law Center talks to us about the Affordable Care Act’s momentous birth control benefit, which allows women to access contraception without a co-pay.
There’s a radical idea that you are in charge of your own reproductive future, and that you have the right to choose if, when and how you have children, don’t have children, and choose to parent your children. In this episode, Heidi Williamson from In Our Own Voice, The National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, sits down with us to discuss the importance of reproductive justice and how it works in tandem with reproductive health.
Now that we know how the U.S. is advancing, we have to ask: what is the status of accessible reproductive and sexual healthcare throughout the rest of the world? In this episode, we set the scene. Jonathan Rucks from PAI discusses how women and girls in developing countries may achieve access to family planning initiatives while he also helps us tackle the international side of reproductive health.
In this episode, we bring you up to speed on the current status of reproductive health in the United States. Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s JacquelineAyers talks to us about the good and the bad of reproductive and sexual health in the United States since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.