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Comprehensive Sexual Education, Ensuring Reproductive Rights Critical To Women’s, Girls’ Health

Project Syndicate: How Abortion Hypocrisy Kills Women
Patricia Nudi Orawo, advocacy officer at the Kisumu Medical and Education Trust

“…If we want to reduce demand for abortion services, we must recognize that it is often the culmination of a series of systemic failures that begin during childhood, when a comprehensive sexual education (CSE) should be required. A CSE teaches young people about sex and relationships in an age-appropriate, culturally sensitive, realistic, nonjudgmental, and scientifically accurate way, and can increase the use of contraceptives and reduce teen pregnancy rates, particularly if it takes a gender-based approach, focusing on empowering young girls to protect their own health. … But, … the right to CSE is often not respected, owing to moralizing resistance from religious leaders and anti-choice movements, as well as other factors … It is time to address the systemic failures … Here, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure: contraception in health budgets, quality CSE in schools, and youth-friendly reproductive-health services. … Rules that punish women must be replaced with modern laws … that protect women’s reproductive freedom, including by guaranteeing access to safe abortion services. … Those who do nothing to prevent unwanted pregnancies — and everything to punish the women affected by them — cannot claim the moral high ground” (4/22).