Blog: News Update – February 19, 2019

Blog: News Update - February 19, 2019

Dear Friend of CORCRC,

Comprehensive Sex Education and Faith Communities

Sex education is a life-long process informally experienced by everyone who observes the way society talks (or doesn’t talk), acts (or doesn’t act) about matters related to sex or the expressions of affection and sexual behaviors. The biggest influence regarding our attitudes toward sex is what we observe and experience as children and mainly what we see in our immediate families. Acknowledging the enormous role of family, it is logical that children would benefit if their parents would have a solid understanding of sexuality, be comfortable as role models, and be able to provide their children with accurate information about sexual matters. Understanding sexuality helps one integrate sex into the many dimensions of a person’s life and can positively influence one’s health, emotional balance and happiness.

Many surveys confirm that the general public and the majority of parents want sex education to be available to their children in school. In the 1990’s the focus of sex education shifted from pregnancy prevention to the prevention of HIV/AIDS. The two distinct approaches to sex education that presently receive government funding are the “abstinence until marriage” approach and “comprehensive sex education.”

  • Abstinence only until marriage” – sex education programs which promote sexual abstinence until marriage as the only acceptable means of preventing pregnancy or the transmission of HIV/STDs. This curriculum is heavily influenced by religious values and excludes science-based information about contraception and STD prevention.
  • “Comprehensive sex education” – provides accurate (science-based) and age appropriate information. The curriculum is designed to encourage personal responsibility, the importance of critical thinking and decision-making skills, awareness of behavioral consequences, and communication methods including peer-refusal skills and establishing consent.

Based on research from Advocates for Youth under the CDC, basic characteristics of a successful sex education program include:

  1. The curriculum is based on medically accurate and updated information.
  2. The presented information is age appropriate.
  3. Because sexual behaviors are essentially value-laden, it is advised that educators be non-judgmental and focus on possible health and emotional consequences versus what is right/wrong or good/bad behavior.
  4. The best-case scenario for good sex education is that the teacher be well trained and comfortable with this complicated topic.

The characteristics of comprehensive sexuality programs in public schools have also been incorporated by faith organizations. Our Whole Lives or OWL is a highly regarded comprehensive sexuality curricula for children, teenagers, young adults and adults published by the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries. This curriculum is secular but not value-free. It focuses on self worth, sexual health, responsibility, justice and inclusivity.  There is an optional companion piece to the Our Whole Lives called  “Sexuality and Our Faith”.  There are separate versions for the UCC, UUA and CUC communities.

Sexuality and Our Faith will put the exploration of identity, relationships, and sexuality in the context of worship and our relationship with God and scripture. The goals are to connect faith with identity, relationships, and sexuality issues in ways that lead to informed and reasoned decisions and to empower persons to act responsibly as they seek to unite body and spirit, spirituality and sexuality alienation and wholeness.”

Without “Sexuality and Our Faith,” the programs have no religious material and are thus appropriate for use in schools and other non-religious institutions.

All Souls Unitarian Church in Colorado Springs uses the OWL curricula for students from kindergarten to senior citizens.  There are four trained OWL leaders serving this congregation.  The kindergarten course focuses on agency over ones own body, as well as the diversity of families.  From 7-9th grades is when the course includes direct education on contraception, STD’s, pregnancy, and body image.  All Souls has organized ‘retreats’ for this age group around these issues.  From college through middle age topics include family planning, healthy relationships, dealing with sexual abuse, and sexual activity choices.  OWL is also important for senior citizens who also need information about STD’s and healthy sexual behaviors. When asked what she thought is the most important result of the OWL program in her parish, Rev. Nori Rost replied, “It is important to understand that to respond to our bodies in a healthy and respectful way is not sin.”

For more information on the OWL program go to:
UUA – Our Whole Lives: Lifespan Sexuality Education
UCC – Our Whole Lives

And for general information about sex education go to SIECUS: the Sexuality Information and Education Center of the United States.  This link takes you to an update on the status of sex education in Colorado.

CORCRC urges you to support Comprehensive Human Sexuality Education – House Bill 19-1032, Concerning Comprehensive Human Sexuality Education.  Sponsors are Rep. Susan Lontine and Sen. Nancy Todd and Don Coram.  The bill clarifies content requirements for public schools that offer comprehensive human sexuality education and prohibits instruction from explicitly or implicitly teaching or endorsing religious ideology or sectarian tenets or doctrines, using shame-based or stigmatizing language to instructional tools, employing gender norms or gender stereotypes, or excluding the relational or sexual experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, to transgender individuals.  The bill also amends certain provisions of the current grant program to include an oversight committee, require grant application to determine need for state funding and gives priority to rural school districts.  The bill appropriates at least $1 million annually for grant program.

 

Grand Junction Community Hospital: There is still an opportunity to speak up and prevent the Grand Junction Community Hospital from losing its status as a secular institution. There is a need to know what health care policies will be impacted by the new administration before a contract is signed with Centura Health.  Concerns are focused in three areas: reproductive health, end of life, and comprehensive services for members of the LGBTQ community.  Your voice is vital to determining solutions. Contact the CEO Chris Thomas (cthomas@gjhosp.org), the Board of Trustees at Community Hospital 2351 G Road Grand Junction, Co 81505 or call 970-242-0920.  Voice your concerns about transparency and ask what actions are needed to insure comprehensive health care.

 

Legislation Update

HB19-1103, Protect Human Life at Conception was soundly defeated.  Another unconstitutional bill was voted down. CORCRC’s Executive Director, Nora Bashir, contributed to this victory along with members of the REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH, RIGHTS and JUSTICE COALITION and other advocates.

CORCRC Executive Director Nora Bashir testifies against HB19-1103

HB19 – 1004 – Proposal For Affordable Health Coverage Option, The bill requires the department of health care policy and financing and the division of insurance in the department of regulatory agencies (departments) to develop and submit a proposal (proposal) to certain committees of the general assembly concerning the design, costs, benefits, and implementation of a state option for health care coverage. Additionally, the departments shall present a summary of the proposal at the annual joint hearings with the legislative committees of reference during the interim before the 2020 legislative session.   | Introduced In House – Assigned to Health & Insurance  Sponsors: Rep. D. Roberts | Rep. M. Catlin | Sen. K. Donovan

HB19-1001 Hospital Transparency Measures To Analyze Efficacy Concerning hospital transparency measures required to analyze the efficacy of hospital delivery system reform incentive payments. Passed by the House. Last Action: 2/4/19, assigned to Senate Health & Human Services Committee. Sponsors: Rep. C. Kennedy, Sen. D. Moreno.

HB19-1064 Victim Notification Criminal Proceeding   Concerning eliminating requirements that victims must opt in to effect their rights in criminal proceedings. Proactively adds victims into the notification of criminal proceedings system unless  the victim opts out. Last Action: 01/10/2019 | Introduced In House – Assigned to  Judiciary  Sponsors: Rep. T. Sullivan
HB19-1122 Colorado Department Of Public Health And Environment Maternal Mortality Review Committee  Concerning the creation of a maternal mortality review committee in the department of public health and environment.  Last Action: 01/16/2019 | Introduced In House – Assigned to Public Health Care & Human Services  Sponsors: Rep. J. Buckner | Rep. L. Landgraf | Sen. R. Fields | Sen. B. Gardner

SB19-085 Equal Pay For Equal Work Act  Concerning the creation of the “Equal Pay for Equal Work Act” in order to implement measures to prevent pay disparities.  Last Action: 01/17/2019 | Introduced In Senate – Assigned to Judiciary  Sponsors: Sen. J. Danielson | Sen. B. Pettersen | Rep. J. Buckner | Rep. S. Gonzales-Gutierrez

Your support nourishes and serves as a catalyst to grow our mission. With a financial contribution, you will ensure our continued commitment to Colorado Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (CORCRC) bringing interfaith and multiracial voices to reproductive health and rights issues.
With comments or questions, or if you would like to get involved with CORCRC, please contact Nora Bashir, CORCRC Exec Director at nora@corcrc.org or Joyce Lisbin at joyce@corcrc.org

Points of Interest:

Pope Francis and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith defrocked Theodore McCarrick, a former cardinal and archbishop emeritus of Washington. This action was taken as a prelude to the Feb. 21-24 summit on the protection of minors in the Church. The summit will focus on the themes of responsibility, accountability, and transparency.

Pope Francis Asks for Prayers Ahead of Vatican Abuse Summit


Upcoming Events

February

February 19th: Join CORCRC Vice President, Dr. Savita Ginde, to discuss reproductive health and privacy and view a screeing of her TedX talk that focuses on her new book, The Real Cost of Fake News: The Hidden Truth Behind the Planned Parenthood Video Scandal.
Wild Woman Wine
1660 Champa Street
Denver, CO 80202
Time: 6-8pm

Click here to reserve your ticket

March

March 7th: Reproductive Health Lobby Day. Sign up today to speak with your state representatives about reproductive health, rights and justice! Click this link to sign up.

May

May 7th: Save the Date: Faith and Freedom – The CORCRC annual award ceremony will take place at Temple Emanuel.  This year’s honoree is Senator Joann Ginal.  She is the newest state Senator representing Ft Collins and surrounding area. She has been a strong supporter of reproductive justice and a devoted friend to CORCRC.

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