We in the reproductive rights community have cultivated this idea that the only stories we can tell about young people are ones that involve the threat of abuse. This makes it seem as if we tacitly approve of the idea that only people in danger are worthy of our understanding.
A study this week adds to the large body of research that shows teens who have received the HPV vaccine are no more likely to engage in sexual activity or suffer consequences such as unintended pregnancy or STIs than their un-vaccinated peers.
Unfortunately, Nicholas Kristof’s great op-ed on teenage pregnancy in the New York Times last week included a misleading statistic that suggests people who rely on condoms for pregnancy prevention will eventually, inevitably become pregnant.
“The fetus basically gets two lawyers to try and stop the minor from getting an abortion in a way that no other state’s law comes close to doing,” said Andrew Beck, one of the ACLU attorneys challenging the Alabama law on behalf of a Montgomery abortion clinic, arguing it is unconstitutional.
Intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants are highly effective at preventing pregnancy and safe for women of all ages. Many think they are the ideal contraceptive method for adolescent girls. The American Academy of Pediatrics weighed in this week.
A law forcing notification or consent doesn’t help a young person who feels that they cannot turn to their parents out of fear for their safety or parental anger and disappointment. It simply makes it harder for them to access safe and legal care.
“Youth” is just one of many identities we experience during our lives, and stigmatizing or shaming a person because of age fails any social movement fighting against oppression.
This week, a new study shows that just one in five sexually active high school students has been tested for HIV; a porn producer with a large presence in San Francisco threatens to move to Las Vegas if a condom law is passed; and a vibrator lets you record your vagina during masturbation.
Sexual pleasure can be a taboo subject in our society almost everywhere but in our entertainment, where it is arguably overdone. But even in our media, sex seems to be the sole privilege of young, white, single, and non-disabled people. That’s what makes John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars so remarkable.
Once hailed as a lifesaver and necessity for everyone thinking about having sex, condoms are now frequently maligned—young people are surrounded by messages suggesting they don’t work, they break, and they take all the fun out of sex.