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Felt like doing something for a change

I finally joined the ACLU! I've been telling people for years that I'm, "almost a card carrying member," now I'm just watiing on the card to come in the mail. I was working on an assignment for my Community Health class in which I had to post a comment on another group's planned interventions to an online discussion board. The other group's plan was to go into schools and provide comprehensive sex education to all teens. One student commented that this would be impossible, as it would violate a federal law mandating abstinence-only education in schools. This is not true, and I felt the need to correct her. States (like Florida) who choose to provide abstinence-only education in their school system receive $4 federal matching dollars for every $3 they put towards this pointless effort. As abstinence-only education has never been shown in any controlled study to reduce the rates of teens having sex, getting pregnant, or getting STDs, even putting $3 towards it is a waste of state funds. In my response, I suggested that all nurses write their representatives and urge a policy change in the interest of public health - and then I realized that I haven't done that, and it's an issue I feel fairly strongly about.

I found the ACLU website, did some reading, and decided to donate a few dollars and get my official membership card. I also signed off on a few e-mails to my representatives, including one suggesting we eliminate federal funds for abstinence-only education. It's not much, but I've been feeling the urge to get more involved in politics lately and to stand up for what I believe in. It's hard to do in Florida, where over half the adult population doesn't "believe in" evolution - as if it's not backed up by science, but rather something you can choose to deny on blind faith. There has been such an erosion in civil liberties over the last several years that I decided it was time for me to do something at least, even if I don't have much money to donate or time to march in a rally right now. I volunteered for the DFL (Democratic Farmer and Labor Party) in Minnesota before I was old enough to vote, and I miss feeling like I made a little bit of a difference. Maybe I'll have time to get a little more involved after I finish up my program in the next few weeks. If you're interested, go to http://www.aclu.org/ and sign up! You can join for as little as $20, or more if you have deeper pockets. There is also information on partiicpating without actually joining, if you're afraid of the government putting you on a "watch list" once your name is on the membership rolls.


Maura White

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November 2008
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