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State Reprod Health Monit. 1995 Dec;6(4):8-9.

Tracking the trends. Year-end review of state actions on reproductive health policy. Teenage pregnancy prevention.



Adolescent pregnancy prevention programs in the US pertain to sex education about reproduction, condom availability in schools, and outreach. This review of state actions on reproductive health policy in 1995 shows that, of the more than 100 bills introduced in 41 states, 16 bills were enacted. Some states eliminated condom and sex education programs in schools. 64 bills related to sexuality education in 30 states. 75% of these bills aimed to eliminate or restrict the scope of comprehensive sexuality education. The five laws enacted were identified as receiving a comprehensive analysis in the "State Reproductive Health Monitor," Vol.6, No.2, June 1995. The conservative states of North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Texas enacted new laws, which eliminated the teacher requirement for providing pregnancy prevention and disease education. These states retained education about sexually transmitted diseases and sexuality education. North Carolina and Texas granted parents the right to remove students from these classes, and schools must inform parents of their rights. Oklahoma required parental consent for attendance in these classes. Most proposed legislation about condom distribution in schools attempts to prohibit condom access. In 1995, there were 11 measures on prohibiting condom access proposed in 9 states, but none were enacted. Massachusetts is the only state where the State Board of Education policy recommends that schools consider condom availability as part of their HIV/AIDS prevention education efforts. This action was upheld in the Massachusetts Supreme Court. Four bills, out of 50 bills introduced in 1995, were enacted on unintended teenage pregnancy prevention issues. Opponents to sexuality education tend to promote abstinence-only education and an emphasis on the immorality and negative consequences of sexual intercourse. Opponents also tend to remove information from the curricula on pregnancy prevention and disease prevention on the grounds that it promotes sexual activity. School boards in Georgia must approve textbooks. About 22 states require some form of sexuality education. 40 states require education about sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS. There has been no new legal activity in the last three years among states to promote comprehensive education. Over 400 schools have condom availability programs. A more complete description of these programs is available from the "State Reproductive Health Monitor," Vol.6, No.3, September 1995.

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