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Sex Education in Minnesota

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Sex Education in Minnesota

Sex Education is a growing issue in Minnesota. The way students are taught sex education has little to no positive affect on the sexual behavior of our youth. Typically, students are taught abstinence-only programs in Minnesota. According to Sex. Etc., Minnesota received $505,743 in federal funding for teaching abstinence-only to their students in 2010. Though the Obama Administration eliminated this funding after 2010, schools still continue to teach abstinence-only-until-marriage curriculums to their students.

Current Laws

The only requirements for sex education in Minnesota are:

STD/STI and HIV/AIDS education

Abstinence must be taught as the only 100% effective way to protect against unplanned pregnancy, STDs/STIs, and sexually transmitted HIV/AIDS.

A sex education course must be taught

The information must be technically correct

Things that are not required statewide:

Teaching about contraceptives

Parental permission to take sex education

Statewide curriculum

District-wide curriculum

School-wide curriculum

The information must be medically correct

The teacher must have sex education training

The state-level sex education requirements are problematic for various reasons. Because there isn’t a statewide, district-wide, or even school-wide curriculum for sex education in Minnesota, teachers are free to create their own curriculums, meaning students attending the same school could be learning completely different things about sex and reproductive health depending on which teacher they have. It’s important that we create a statewide, inclusive curriculum for comprehensive sex education in Minnesota.

Unwanted Pregnancy Rates

According to Guttmacher Institute, 40% of Minnesota pregnancies were unintended. Additionally, the teen pregnancy rate (women aged 15-19) was 36 in 1,000 women in 2010. Unintended pregnancy occurs at higher rates in women of color and working class women.

Contraceptives

45.2% of sexually active students in Minnesota reported that they or their partner always use a condom during sexual contact in 2012. According to the Minnesota Department of Education, students who are taught comprehensive sex ed. have sex later and/or use condoms more accurately and more often. Students who are taught abstinence only sex ed programs show no change in behavior.

Minnesota minors can obtain a birth control prescription without parent’s permission, but a doctor can notify the parent/guardian of the minor, but is not required to do so, according the Sex. Etc. Thankfully, Title X clinics, facilities that provide sexual and reproductive health services, allow for completely confidential appointments. To find a Title X clinic near you, call 1-800-230-PLAN.

STDs

Syphilis

Syphilis rates rose 63% in Minnesota women in 2015, causing the state to call for more testing and awareness of the disease, according the the Star Tribune and the Minnesota Department of Health.

Chlamydia

Chlamydia is the most commonly reported disease in Minnesota. In 2014, there were 19,897 cases of Chlamydia in the state of Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. 66% of those cases were in men and women ages 15-24.  The highest rates

Gonorrhea

In 2014, 4,073 cases of Gonorrhea were reported in Minnesota according to the Minnesota Department of Health. 52% of the cases were in young adults ages 15-24.

For more stats and information on STD rates in Minnesota, click here. http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/dtopics/stds/stats/2014/stdstats2014.html#1

Why is this important for the state of Minnesota?

In a study done in 2010 by the Minnesota Department of Health, 62-69% of 9th grade students reported getting their information about sex from their friends, followed by 51-57% from schools, teachers, and/or counselors, and 42-50% from parents. This emphasizes the importance of comprehensive sex education in Minnesota. Having a more inclusive, non-heteronormative, statewide curriculum for all of Minnesota, students and their peers will not only have more knowledge of sex and reproduction, but will have more open conversation about these topics with their friends and their parents. Having an open, honest, and inclusive relationship about sex is important for healthy sexual behavior for Minnesota youths. 

What does this have to do with reproductive justice?

As the rates of unplanned pregnancy go up, and STD/STI rates go up, it is important for folks to have the right to choose how they protect themselves, the right and access to inclusive and accurate information, the right to plan if/how they’d like to have a family, and the right to access the materials needed to achieve their goals. Allowing Minnesota youth the right to be taught comprehensive se education gives them the ability to make informed, educated decisions about their reproductive health in their futures.

Why is this a feminist issue?

Sex education and access to information and resources for reproductive health are not inclusive at all. The way we currently teach sex education in Minnesota tends to be incredibly heteronormative, and not inclusive of the LGBT community. Matt Toburen, the public policy director for the Minnesota AIDS Project, said that LGBT students in Minnesota feel they’ve been left out of the conversation after they took a sex education course. This act of teaching heteronormative sex education to LGBT students further stigmatizes them and their experiences.

In Minnesota, there are higher rates of STDs and unplanned pregnancy in people of color than white people. For example, chlamydia affects 9 times more people of color than white people in Minnesota.

Low-income families, people of color, and transgender men and women have a harder time than any other group accessing resources they need to maintain their reproductive health, like regular pelvic exams, STD testing, pregnancy tests, and contraceptives. It is our job to make information and resources accessible to all people, despite race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, age, ability, etc. to promote a more inclusive and equal experience for everyone.

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Resources

Family Planning Clinics

Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota-Administrative Headquarters

671 Vandalia Street

Saint Paul, MN 55114

(651)696-5652

http://www.plannedparenthood.org/planned-parenthood-minnesota-north-dakota-south-dakota

Saint Paul—Ramsey County Public Health

555 Cedar Street

Saint Paul, MN 55101

(651)266-1272

http://www.co.ramsey.mn.us/home/index.htm

Family Tree Clinic

1619 Dayton Avenue

Suite 205

Saint Paul, MN 55104

(651)645-0478

www.familytreeclinic.org

Nucleus Clinic

1323 Coon Rapids Boulevard

Coon Rapids, MN 55433

(763)755-5300

www.nucleusclinic.org

List of other family planning clinics by county in Minnesota: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/cfh/program/familyplanning/directory.cfm

Educational and Advocacy

Family Tree Clinic

1619 Dayton Avenue

Suite 205

Saint Paul, MN 55104

(651)645-0478

www.familytreeclinic.org

Our Whole Lives

Unity Church-Unitarian

733 Portland Avenue

Saint Paul, MN 55104

(651)228-1456

www.unityunitarian.org./our-whole-lives.html

Minnesota AIDS Project

1400 Park Avenue

Minneapolis, MN 55404

(612)341-2060

www.mnaidsproject.org/index.php

NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota

2300 Myrtle Ave #120

Saint Paul, MN 55114

(651)602-7655

www.prochoiceminnesota.org

Pro-Choice Resources

528 Hennepin Avenue

Suite 600

Minneapolis, MN 55403

(612) 825-2000

www.prochoiceresources.org