On Monday, March 6, 2006 Governor Mike Rounds of South Dakota signed into law a bill outlawing all abortions unless the pregnant woman's life was in immediate danger. Last week, a Men's Rights group filed suit on behalf of a twenty-five year old Michigan man, claiming that men do not have the same reproductive rights as women do, and in the instance of an unplanned, unwanted pregnancy, men who did not want children should have the option not to pay child support. Both of these circumstances have in common reproductive rights in the case of unplanned pregnancies. Neither issue is getting a whole lot of media coverage other than op-ed pieces written here and there with brilliant ideas of preventing unplanned pregnancy as a way to prevent abortion. Incredibly insightful, and a study conducted by the reproductive health think tank the Alan Guttmacher Institute has shown that valid sex education and safe, easily accessible contraception helps prevent abortion and disease. I wonder why there isn't an existing organization promoting these ideas. Surely, if our Federal and State governments knew that abortion could be prevented they would hop on the funding bandwagon to get our teenagers sexually educated and our men and women easy, affordable access to contraception, would they not?? The answer is no, they would not. Want proof?? Go to your local school district and find out what their sex education program consists of. Is it valid, comprehensive, medically accurate and age appropriate? Are they teaching abstinence as well as ways to protect oneself from disease and pregnancy, such as contraception and medical resources ? Hopefully your children go to school to be educated in a vast number of subjects, including those of the preventative nature, but most likely they are not. Fact- the majority of schools in this country will lose billions of dollars a year in federal and state money to teach your children accurate information about sex. Our already under-funded public schools receive money to teach children inaccurate information. Abstinence only sex education is what they are taught, while it looks good on paper, and no one wants their children to be having sex, it would be incredibly naïve, idealistic and frankly irresponsible to assume that teenagers are always doing what their parents expect of them. Yet instead of offering preventative techniques in addition to abstinence, teenagers are taught that "The only way to protect yourself is to not have sex", and are only educated about contraceptives (including condoms) in terms of failure rates. All questions are answered with the former statement, which these courses use as a mantra. Consequently,teenagers adopt a "It won't work anyway" attitude, participate in unprotected oral and anal sex because it's " Not really sex", and even after postponing sexual activity a year longer than their sexually educated peers, they are less likely to use protection in vaginal sex as well. The teenage pregnancy and STI rates in this country are among the highest in the world. As are the abortion rates. Groups and organizations such as Planned Parenthood Family Planning Advocates,many faith based groups and at least one teenager in Texas (Shelby Knox) have been fighting an uphill battle to provide this nation's teenagers with medically accurate sex education as a preventative measure to lower the need for abortions in this country. Comprehensive, age appropriate, medically accurate sex education is a no brainer to prevent unplanned pregnancies, yet these organizations are not even eligible for Federal money because they insist on protecting the youth of this nation with valid, fact based information. This is the equivalent of a drug and alcohol abuse prevention program such as DARE handing your teenager a six pack and the car keys. Perhaps the government should think about selling them a joint for the ride. Despite the lack of funding organizations like PP, FPA and other lesser known but still significant faith based groups for choice receive, they still do everything in their power to provide low income services to men, women and children of all incomes. They rely heavily on the funding that different medicaid services offer to their patients, so that they're able to provide effective low cost contraception and prenatal care to women and families who would otherwise not be able to afford it. Unfortunately, the Federal government slashed funding for medicaid services that cater to low income families just this past December. This received almost no media attention, and on a state level the billions of dollars cut from medical health services for poverty level patients has been celebrated as a reduction in property taxes. Lovely. Even the FDA has let politics trump science when it comes to reproductive rights. Emergency Contraception is not only proven around 90% effective in preventing unplanned pregnancy when taken within 72 hours, but also has no adverse side effects on the women who take it. IT PREVENTS PREGNANCY! It does not terminate an already established pregnancy. Yet, for some reason, money, politics, an unreasonable fear of Mr. Bush perhaps, the FDA has refused to allow EC to be available over the counter. If that's not bad enough, there is pending legislation in as many as six states that would make it constitutionally possible for your pharmacist to REFUSE to dispense contraceptive medication to you if it interferes with his or her own personal moral high ground. So even if you get that prescription for EC in enough time to prevent an unwanted pregnancy, you better hope you find a pharmacist willing to do their job as well. Pending legislation or not, you may not be safe anywhere because some chain stores like Target for example have a store policy that allows any of their pharmacists to refuse to dispense medication if said medication conflicts with their "deeply held religious beliefs". The bottom line here is for the authors of these op-ed pieces I've come across lately, as well as the general public, both who seem to be generally kept in the dark by a media and an administration who obviously does not have your best interests in mind, nor those of your children. This presidential administration and many many state governments are blackmailing your public schools to support their draconian principles. They are allowing pharmacists to act as God to prove that woman really did commit the original sin and should be content living her life of "family values" to make amends for that sin. They are handing your children a six pack and the keys to your car. Take a look around you. The same people preaching about the value of life just took health care away from children and their pregnant mothers. The people who need it the most. What happened to the value of life?? The answer is obvious, potential life is valuable and must be saved because allowing a woman to make that choice for herself is a direct threat to the patriarchal establishment that has only the interests of the already rich in mind. Existing life is not their problem.