Empowered By Children's Healthcare Expansion

By Tracee Sioux

Population Connection just sent me a letter that made me feel totally empowered. I had sent letters to all of my representatives insisting they vote in favor of extending and expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). I had also asked readers of So Sioux Me to write their Representatives as well. I feel proud to have participated and I feel proud of my readers who participated.

The only way Americans can be empowered is if we use our power to demand what we want from our elected Representatives. Writing letters, is, I believe, an effective way to communicate with those we’ve put in office about our expectations of them.

The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) was passed by the House by a vote of 224-204.

The President has threatened to veto the expansion of SCHIP.

The controversy, an extremely relevant and important one for girl empowerment, extends to the federally funded abstinence-only sex education provision. The provision will require that programs be medically and scientifically accurate and that they be based on a model that has been proven effective at reducing unintended pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

From a girl empowerment standpoint misinformation or anti-information about how she can get pregnant or how she might contract a sexually transmitted disease, both of which carry lifelong consequences, is never to a girls’ benefit.

A girl is entitled to know how her body functions and what the medically accurate consequences for her sexual behavior might be. Not telling her how she might contract an STD or become pregnant has the practical effect of leaving her with a baby and an STD through ignorance.

Withholding or giving inaccurate information is patently unfair, and I believe, immoral, from the girls’ standpoint.

I understand that parents want the right to tell their children what they feel is appropriate about sex. Feel free. Please, tell them abstinence is the only way to be 100% safe. By all means, encourage them to wait until they are more mature and totally committed. No one wants teenagers to have sex – it’s a bad idea. Teenage sex has real consequences.

However, since parents aren’t the ones facing parenthood at 14-years-old and they aren’t the ones contracting cancer-causing HPV or life-threatening AIDS, the girls’ right to medically accurate information supersedes the parents’ right to withhold information from their children.

In practicality, parents are the last ones to know what kind of actual sexual activity is going on with their kids. How many parents have had to sit through the terrifying and shocking news that their teenage daughter is pregnant? The whole design of having sex as a teenager is to keep it from the parents, especially the really, really devout Christian ones.

Not telling girls the truth about how their biological reproductive systems work leaves a lot of room for a boy, whose objective is to get laid, to tell girls oh, you can’t get pregnant if I pull out, you can’t get pregnant if you do it in a hot tub, if I don’t put it all the way in you won’t get pregnant, that’s not an STD it’s just a scab from too much masturbating, I’ve been checked out and I don’t have anything, condoms are just not intimate enough I want to be able to feel you, a blow job isn’t really sex.

It’s been a while, but I’m pretty positive such ploys are still in being used in parked cars and parentally vacant houses all over America, not to mention all the illicit sexual activity that goes on between teenagers in the church youth group.

We owe our girls enough medically accurate information to be able to take care of themselves sexually. Without medically accurate information, we make victims of them needlessly and that’s never empowering.

It is also relevant to point out that under the provision, states and school districts still have the right to determine which curriculum to present in their schools, as long as it’s medically accurate information. Obviously more conservative areas will choose to focus more on abstinence.

An empowered girl understands the consequences of sexual activity, and God willing makes better decisions, because she’s been given accurate information about her own body.

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