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Letter to the editor

Hatch Amendment would impact healthcare

October 30, 2009

The healthcare reform debate is dominating the news right now. One thing we’re not hearing about is the Hatch Amendment, an amendment that would have a serious impact on our health education. Voted into the Senate Finance Committee’s version of healthcare reform 12-11, the Hatch Amendment lays out a $50 million funding plan to get abstinence-only back into our classrooms.

We need to speak up. This piece of healthcare reform will directly im- pact our everyday lives and it’s key we show our legislators we want sex education grounded in fact instead of conservative ideology.

For the past eight years, federal funding for abstinence-only has failed to equip us with the information we need about sex and sexuality. A 2008 CDC study found that 1 in 4 young women between the ages of 14 and 19 in the United States is infected with an STI. Young people aged 13-29 ac- counted for 34% of new HIV infections in 2007, the largest share of any group.

Abstinence-only education assumes that we all have the same experience with sex and sexuality and disseminates misinformation about contraception, abortion, STIs and pregnancy. We need to make sure it doesn’t stay in our classrooms.

The President’s Budget eliminated all abstinence-only funding, and this past June, Congress allowed Title V money (one of the funding streams for ab-only programs) to expire. Democrats in the House and Senate have held firm on keeping it out of health care reform too. Let’s make sure 12 senators don’t successfully get bad sex education back into our classrooms!

Take five to call Senator Feingold and Senator Kohl and demand they strike the Hatch Amendment down. Call 1-888-423-5983 and talk to our Senators’ office. We have call-in scripts online at www.choiceusa.org if you need talking points!

Be a part of the fight to keep bad sex education out of our classrooms!

Nikki Shonoiki
Student