On Monday November 10, I (along with about 50 more amazing people) visited Capitol Hill to lobby for something I am passionate about; THE RIGHTS OF TEENAGERS! My state met with staffers in NC Senator Burr's office and NC Representative Brad Miller's office to discuss the benefits of comprehensive sex education in public schools as opposed to abtinence-only sex education.
As teenagers, we deserve to be educated about certain things so that we will be able to make responsible, informed decisions. And...comprehensive sex education does just that! It teaches young people about ways to protect themselves if they choose to be sexually active, but still empasizes that abstinence is the only 100% effective way to prevent pregnancy and the transmission of STIs. Comprehensive sex education presents students with resources to refer to if needed and also teaches about healthy relationships. So why not cut the funding for abstinence-only funding and spend that money on something more useful: COMPREHENSIVE SEX EDUCATION.
In Senator Burr's office, we met with staffer Mark Fellin. He was a very personable and understanding staffer. He listened to what we had to say and was polite when he spoke. We gave him the shocking statistics about the reproductive health of teens in NC and he was very shocked, especially when he heard that NC had the 9th highest pregnancy rate in the nation. Also, he was amazed that 95% of people who get married in the US are not virgins. Now...Senator Burr has continuously voted against comprehensive sex education, so why would his staff be so shocked to hear these statistics if he was sure abstinence-only was getting the job done? Also, the staffer mentioned something about Sen. Burr being anti-abortion. With respect to his position on such a controversial issue, we successfully and effectively refuted. We explained that if Senator Burr would simply vote of comprehensive sex education, the number of pregnacies would decline, therefore reducing the need for abortions. Overall, our meeting with Sen. Burr's office went well.
On the other hand, we met with Rep. Brad Miller's office, which happens to support comprehensive sex education. Our main focus during this meeting was to cordially thank Rep. Miller for his support and ask him to vote against Title V and CBAE (Community-Based Abstinence Education) funding. His staffer, Heather Parsons, was of great company and was pleased that such young people took a firm stand on an issue. She could tell that we were passionate about what we explained. We asked her to discuss with Rep. Miller if he could work towards gaining the support of other legislators who opposed comprehensive sex education. We also asked him to continue to support comprehensive sex education, becuase this is the time for change and it would soon come to be. Hopefully, in the future Rep. Brad Millier will sponsor of co-sponsor a comprehensive sex education bill!
My time in DC was fun! i met lots of cool AFY staff: special shouts out to the online advocacy coordinators (Will, Joe, and Emily) and Meg! I met other intelligent young people who were passionate about the same issues as myself! Most of all, I became one step closer to making a difference in the lives of many young people in America. It Is Time for CHANGE...and we will be catalysts for improving this social injustice! Thanks AFY and APPCNC!