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Missouri House Needs Sex Education

April 30, 2009

Jefferson City, MO – Advocates for reproductive rights say the Missouri House of Representatives needs to take a lesson in sex education, after the House this week passed an amendment to protect pharmacies that refuse to fill birth control prescriptions.

Reproductive rights advocates with Planned Parenthood affiliates in Missouri say lawmakers need to get their facts straight. Michelle Trupiano with Planned Parenthood of St. Louis say restricting access to birth control does not prevent abortions, but increases unintended pregnancies.

"We believe that every woman who goes into a pharmacy should be given her prescription without discrimination or delay."

Pro-life proponents say pharmacists who are morally opposed to abortion should have the right to refuse to fill birth control prescriptions. They say abstinence-only education is the best way to prevent abortions.

The Rev. Rebecca Turner, executive director with Faith Aloud, a group that advocates for reproductive rights, says however that religious leaders have a moral obligation to tell young people the truth.

"Abstinence-only education is a public health threat. It is damaging our young people, and we simply must give young people the information they need."

Turner says research has shown that abstinence-only education does not prevent unintended pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases.

Planned Parenthood and Faith Aloud rallied at the Capitol this week. Both groups say lawmakers need to focus their attention on legislation like the Prevention First Act, which supports sex education. Planned Parenthood of St. Louis will rally again this weekend at a town hall meeting.

Heather Claybrook, Public News Service - MO