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Policy & Politics

New York: Smith Vows to Push Bills on Abortion, Sex Education

January 22, 2009

The new Democratic leader of the state Senate has pledged to make sex education classes a priority for New York public schools. "This is an opportunity that we can do what's right for our teenagers," Senate Majority Leader Malcolm A. Smith said recently before a cheering crowd of representatives of Planned Parenthood organizations from around the state.

The Healthy Teens Act, which would allow schools to apply for special funding to provide "age appropriate" sex education, has passed the Assembly five times but died in the Senate. Proponents of the legislation are hopeful Smith's pledge can change that record.

"It was refreshing and exciting to know we have a friend in the Senate who can help us move things forward," said Tracey Brooks, president of Family Planning Advocates of New York State.

The act's supporters say sex education is needed in a state where 180,000 STD infections and 40,000 teen pregnancies occur annually. While parents should ideally provide their children with the facts about sex, "our youth must have all the necessary information we have to stay healthy," said Smith.

Brooks noted that the public overwhelmingly supports sex education in schools.

Smith has also promised to expand protections for abortion procedures by backing a bill that would legally affirm the right to abortion in New York, specify that a woman's health can be a consideration for a late-term abortion, and remove abortion from criminal statutes.

Back to other news for January 2009

Adapted from:
Buffalo News
01.13.2009; Tom Precious

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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