The Information Void: A Discussion of Reproductive Health Education

The Information Void Surrounding Reproductive Health Education
Draws 200 Attendees

With the threats to reproductive health care access becoming ever more real, the NCJW/Essex program on Thursday, January 26th, The Information Void: A Discussion of Reproductive Health Education, drew a passionate crowd of 200 people ready to take action.

The program, sponsored by more than 20 organizations in support of a woman’s right to make decisions about her own health without interference from politicians, also commemorated the anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision ensuring a woman’s right to a safe and legal abortion. Attendees learned about the realities of what is and what is not taught in public schools about sexuality, the misinformation distributed to women seeking abortions via informed consent materials, and the frightening truths about “crisis pregnancy centers.”

Nicole Cushman, MPH, Executive Director of Answer at Rutgers University, explained that research shows that sex education works and has widespread support, but only 13 states require sex education to be “medically accurate.” Cynthia Daniels, PhD, Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University and lead author of The Informed Consent Project, shared her findings that one third of all information in informed consent booklets in 30 states was medically inaccurate, untruthful or misleading. And Jen Boulanger, MEd, Director of Communications at the Women’s Centers in PA, NJ, CT and GA, addressed the proliferation of “crisis pregnancy centers”—religious-based entities whose sole purpose is to prevent women from choosing abortion. These centers are unregulated and deceive women into thinking they are going to a medical clinic when, in fact, they are not medical facilities at all.

“We hosted this Lunch and Learn program to help people see that access to medically accurate, unbiased and factual information about reproductive health is essential to helping our children, teens and young adults develop into sexually healthy individuals,” said Phoebe Pollinger, NCJW/Essex volunteer and co-chair of the event. “At a time when politicians are pushing reproductive health care access out of reach, these topics take on added importance. Our hope is to fill the information void with truthful and medically accurate information so our youth, both male and female, can make smart decisions about their health and their futures.”