This post was originally published on Afro

By Mylika Scatliffe

Fewer topics are more polarizing in the United States than abortion. It’s been legal since the landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, but that hasn’t stopped vehement, sometimes violent clashes between opposing sides of the matter. 

The recent leak of the Supreme Court draft opinion advocating the overturn of decisions on abortion rights -effectively making it illegal- has led to nationwide protests, including some at the homes of Chief Justice John Robert and Justices Samuel Alito (who penned the draft opinion) and Brett Kavanaugh. 

Passionate feelings regarding abortion, more commonly referred to as “pro-choice” and “pro-life,” are really part of a broader system of values and beliefs, particularly as it relates to sex education. Values and beliefs begin with what’s taught or even what’s not taught, within family and friend groups.  Education broadens values and beliefs, which begins when individuals start school.

The history of sex education in the United States goes back about a century when reproduction and pregnancy were taught using handouts and pamphlets with vague and limited information. 

“Thirty states and the District of Columbia require public schools teach sex education, 28 of which mandate both sex education and HIV education,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  In addition, “thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia require [that] students receive instruction about HIV.”

Several young ladies agreed to speak with the AFRO about how the topics of sex education and abortion are handled in high schools. 

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