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Guttmacher Celebrates 40 Years of Bringing Science and Research to Reproductive Health

This year, the Guttmacher Institute celebrates forty years of promoting the core belief that scientific evidence can and should shape public policy.

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Congress — Mind the Reality Gap!

We should post “mind the gap” warnings in many of America’s schools — alerting students, parents and the public to the hazards posed by the huge, and growing, reality gap in U.S. sex education.

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A 12-Step Program to Tell Good Science from Bad

Sharon Camp is the President and CEO of the Guttmacher Institute.

The very complexity of scientific studies can make them their own worst enemy. Valuable research is too often communicated in technical language and rigid formats that make it difficult for non-experts to interpret and evaluate the findings. Worse, some groups deliberately use outdated, incomplete, misleading and outright false information to further an ideological or religious agenda. This creates an environment in which it is increasingly difficult for the public and legislators to distinguish scientifically sound studies from agenda-driven junk science.

It needn't be that way. Social science research, with its focus on human behaviors, relationships and social institutions, can be a rich source of material for journalists, policymakers and program administrators. Indeed, social science findings have their greatest impact when they are useful to—and used by—groups that channel research into practice to improve people's lives.

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Keeping Our Promise to the World’s Youth

Sharon Camp, Ph.D., is the President and CEO of the Guttmacher Institute.

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day on December 1 is accountability: Stop AIDS, Keep the Promise.

When it was first discovered in 1981, the virus that causes AIDS threatened to wreak havoc on the lives of millions worldwide, and today – with 40 million living with the virus and four million new infections this year – the virus has kept its dire promise.

On the other hand, the global community has fallen short of its promise to provide adequate funding for prevention, treatment and care. Our failure holds grave consequences for the world's youth. We promised to take care of our future generations, but do today's adolescents – tomorrow's adults – have the knowledge, skills and resources to have healthy relationships and protect themselves against diseases such as HIV/AIDS?

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Losing Ground on Abortion

Sharon L. Camp is President and CEO of the Guttmacher Institute.

[img_assist|nid=1279|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=86|height=100]The recent decision by the Food and Drug Administration to allow women 18 and older to buy the emergency contraceptive Plan B at pharmacies without a prescription is very welcome news. But Plan B alone will not be enough to overcome our nation's stalled progress in reducing unintended pregnancy and the need for abortion.

The latest data on abortion, published by the Guttmacher Institute in early August, should make no one happy – not the anti-abortion activists who have successfully lobbied for a raft of new abortion restrictions (and who opposed over-the-counter sales of Plan B) and not those of us who want to keep abortion safe, legal and available.

The new numbers strongly suggest that a decades-long decline in U.S. abortion rates is stalling out. In each year from 2000 to 2003, the abortion rate (the number of abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age) barely budged. There is no reason to expect 2004, 2005 or 2006 will look any better. Indeed, they might look a good deal worse.

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