Roundup: North Carolina Considers (More) Comprehensive Sex Ed

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Roundup: North Carolina Considers (More) Comprehensive Sex Ed

Emily Douglas

North Carolina House considers comprehensive sex ed; Tennessee abortion measure moves forward; record number of out-of-wedlock births; worried about the birth rate?

North Carolina Considers Comprehensive Sex Ed
The North
Carolina House will soon vote on giving parents a say in what kind of
sex education their children get: abstinence-only (what schools offer
now), a more comprehensive curriculum, or no sex ed at all. 
"Proponents of the bill argue the existing curriculum doesn’t cover
enough basic health facts, that teens are still getting STD’s or
pregnant because they don’t know how to protect themselves," reports  The vote will take place on Thursday.

Tennessee Abortion Measure Moves Forward
Tennessee state constitution’s right to privacy guarantee has been
interpreted to protect abortion rights, but not if anti-choicers in the
state have their way.  "Legislation that would let voters decide
whether to strip the Tennessee
Constitution of any language protecting the right to an abortion" is
moving forward in the Tennessee legislature.  Reports the Chattanooga Times Free Press: "Health and Human Resources Committee members approved Senate Joint
Resolution 127 on a 20-7 vote, drawing cheers from anti-abortion
advocates watching the committee’s actions."  The bill still has several hurdles:

The measure now must clear the House Calendar and Rules Committee before it can go to the House floor for a vote.

However, attempts may be made to send it to the House Finance
Committee because, while the measure allows the Secretary of State to
meet notification requires via the Internet, some lawmakers say it will
require $20,000 in state expenditures to notify the public in newspaper

Sex. Abortion. Parenthood. Power.

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Should the measure, which already passed by the Senate, clear the
full House, it would have to be approved by a two-thirds majority in
the next General Assembly meeting in 2011 and 2012 before going to
voters on the 2014 ballot.

Explains the Times Free Press:

The resolution seeks to overturn a 2000 Tennessee Supreme Court
decision that declared abortion a “fundamental” right under the state
Constitution. Abortion foes have pushed SJR 127 ever since. The
resolution traditionally has passed the Senate but was blocked in the
House under the leadership of then-Speaker Jimmy Naifeh, D-Covington.

Record Number of Out-of-Wedlock Births
The number of out-of-wedlock births has reached a record high, CNN reports, and that has Sarah Brown, CEO of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, concerned:

"I wish people spent as much time planning when to get pregnant, with
whom, under what circumstances as they do planning their next
vacation," said Brown, the CEO and founding director of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. "The stigma [of out-of-wedlock births] has eroded, and these numbers made me feel perhaps it’s disappeared altogether."

Is Brown suggesting that stigma is a good antidote to teen pregnancy?  The CNN piece does put the numbers in some context — explaining that one researcher found that many unmarried couples who had had a child together were still living together or in a relationship six months after the child’s birth — but still, this story needs further mining.  Is the increase a result of fewer committed adult couples marrying, or an actual uptick in unintended, unwanted teen births?

Worried about the Birth Rate?
On TAPPED, Michelle Goldberg looks at whether liberals should be worried about the birth rate.  Declining birth rates in the West are a conservative obsession, but should they be a liberal one, too?

The thing is, though, rapidly declining birth rates really are a
problem, especially for the sort of generous welfare states that
liberals love. I have a whole chapter about this in my new book about the global battle over reproductive rights, The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power and the Future of the World.
The problem isn’t so much absolute population size as it is age
structure – too few young people supporting too many old people…I get
why liberals have shied away from this discussion, since there’s
so many uncomfortable issues involved. But they really shouldn’t,
because the only solutions to the problem are liberal ones! Basically,
the societies where birthrates have plunged to dangerous levels –
Russia, Catholic countries like Poland, Spain and Italy, as well as
Japan and Singapore – are all places that make it very difficult for
women to combine work and family. In countries that support working
mothers, like Sweden, Denmark, Norway and France, birthrates are
basically fine – they’re either just at replacement, or shrinking in a
very slow, totally manageable way.

Other News to Note
April 8: WTOV: Researchers Working On Birth Control Pill For Men

April 7: Courier Press: Abortion bill moves forward in House: Law would mirror county ordinance

April 7: Contra Costa Times: Union City pastor, anti-abortion leader released from jail

April 8: FOX News: Group Wants Notre Dame Removed From Catholic Directory Over Obama Invite: The American Life League says removing
Notre Dame from the Official Catholic Directory would cut it off from
a lot of Catholic foundation funding.

April 8: WRCB: Hargett offers to pay for abortion resolution  

April 8: ABC Local News: Nation’s oldest abortion clinic to close

April 7: NYT Blog: Organizations working on family planning

April 8: Guardian UK: Funding
cuts threaten women’s access to contraception: UN warns that global
economic crisis may hit reproductive health services around the world

April 8: HuffPo: We’re Back: United States Reclaims A Leadership Role In International Reproductive Health and Rights

Topics and Tags:

Birth Rate