A call for better sex education for Wisconsin teens. Lon Newman, executive director of Wausau based Family Planning Health Services , says a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that youth need better sex education.
"I haven't seen reproductive health and sex education improving in Wisconsin or across the country, especially over the past twenty years," says Newman. "And there's so much to be done, because the risks are so great. We need to know, and our young people need to know, these are the risks and consequences, these are the ways that you can protect yourself, this is how to say no to sexual intercourse, to pressure for sexual intercourse, and this is how to prevent an unintended or unwanted pregnancy."
The CDC report, says Newman, contains a number of alarming findings. "The most telling thing to me in the whole report really was that a third to a fourth of our young people 15-to-19 are already infected with sexually transmitted diseases, and about half of them don't even know that." Newman says that and other findings in the report point to the need for better sex education. "The fact is that if people don't know what they need, if they don't know what the risks are, if they don't have a basic understanding of reproductive health care, they don't often get clinical services until it's too late."
Newman says the Obama administration and Congress have dropped abstinence only education, and new resources should mean about two million dollars in federal money will be available for pregnancy prevention education in Wisconsin. "Congressman Obey in Appropriations passed it on, it's now going to the Senate, and this is a real opportunity for us to take advantage of that two or three million dollars and make a difference in this area," says Newman.