Last week, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies voted to eliminate programs proven to reduce teen and unplanned pregnancy, reduce abortion, and save tax dollars in fiscal year 2016. By gutting funding to family planning services for low-income individuals and undermining comprehensive sexuality education, the appropriations bill would leave millions of Americans without information and services to keep themselves safe and healthy.
The bill eliminates funding for Title X family planning centers, which have long enabled low-income individuals to access quality health care. This cut would leave 4.6 million Americans without affordable access to critical preventive health care, including family planning services, well-woman exams, cancer screenings, birth control, and testing and treatments for sexually transmitted infections.
Furthermore, the bill also slashes funding for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative (TPPI), which promotes medically accurate and age-appropriate programs that reduce teen pregnancy. In addition, the bill doubles funding for abstinence-only until marriage programs, incomplete “sex ed” curricula that leave teens without the necessary tools to keep themselves safe and healthy. Studies show that abstinence-only until marriage programs do not prevent teenagers from having sex—instead, they prevent them from having safe sex. Our nation’s young people must have access to scientifically-based, medically-accurate information in order to make informed choices about their health.
Comprehensive sexuality education equips people with the information they need to avoid unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and other health problems, and it also provides models for healthy adult relationships. It relies on accurate scientific knowledge and research to provide students with the truth about the potential risks of sexual activity, all while teaching tools to reduce these risks and to promote safe, healthy behavior.
The guiding principle of sexuality in the Jewish tradition is K’doshim tih’yu, “You shall be holy” (Leviticus 19:2). Providing young adults with accurate and comprehensive information allows them to make informed decisions about their health and helps them maintain respect for themselves and their bodies.
The appropriations bill is scheduled move forward to the full House Appropriations Committee next week. Contact your Representative today to urge him or her to protect robust funding for comprehensive sex education and family planning services!
The post Take Comprehensive Sex Ed and Family Planning off the Chopping Block appeared first on Fresh Updates from RAC.
In response to the tragic killings at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina last night, Rachel Laser, deputy director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
We are heartbroken by last night’s attack at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those whose lives were taken, those who were injured, and with the entire community that has been traumatized by this violence. For all congregants – from the youngest children in religious school, to young professionals engaged in religious life, to long-time stalwarts of the community – houses of worship are places of safety, comfort and inspiration. For the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church to have become last night a place of such horror tears at the heart of every person of faith and goodwill.
We are relieved that the police have identified and captured the suspect. Prior to the arrest, Charleston police Chief Greg Mullen asserted that this attack is a hate crime. If so, we reaffirm that religious intolerance, racial discrimination and hate-motivated violence have no place in our society, which aspires to be a haven for people of all faiths, races and ethnicities.
This attack also serve as yet another tragic reminder of the violence wrought by guns, which fall too easily into the hands of those who seek to cause grievous harm. Our Jewish tradition teaches: “He who takes one life it is as though he has destroyed the universe” (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5). Today we stand shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters in the African Methodist Episcopal community as we pray for those who were murdered and send our thoughts and strength to the families of the victims and those who were wounded.