Archive | October, 2011

Wisconsin Senators Move to Turn Back the Clock on Sex Ed

18 Oct

In a fast-moving piece of legislation, Senators are using Governor Walker’s special session on job creation to repeal the progress made after the passage of the 2009 Healthy Youth Act. The Healthy Youth Act raised the state standards for public school human growth and development instruction.

We just read in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last week that teen pregnancy rates have been declining since 2009,” said Stacy Harbaugh, Communications Strategist for the ACLU of Wisconsin. “This bill is so poorly timed. Not only does this piece of legislation not create a single job in our state, it threatens to move us backwards in building up the next generation of informed, healthy youth. We all know teens need information to make healthy and responsible decisions about sex. Parents and youth should be outraged at this legislative sabotage.”

This bill removes information on the health benefits of contraceptives to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections as well as a requirement for schools to identify support for victims of sexual assault. This bill requires schools to revert back to the proven failure of abstinence-until-marriage types of instruction. This bill even redefines what “medically accurate” and “age appropriate” means.

The comprehensive sexuality education model is based on evidence that when teens participate in school and community programs that stress both the importance of waiting to have sex while providing accurate, age-appropriate, medically accurate and complete information about the use of contraceptives to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, teens delay sex and reduce sexual risk-taking.

For all young people, but especially those who do not receive medically accurate information from their parents, church or peers, our public schools are the best places to give them nondiscriminatory facts about how to stay healthy and make responsible choices. Repealing the Health Youth Act would be a regressive move for Wisconsin’s students and public health.

Senate Bill 237 will get a hearing in the Senate Committee on Education Wednesday, October 19 at noon in room 201 SE in the Capitol. You can read ACLU of Wisconsin live tweets of the hearing @ACLUMadison.

Call your state legislators and tell them to keep comprehensive sex ed for Wisconsin students. In Madison: 266-9960; Toll-free: 1-800-362-9472

Why Does Your State Senator Want Teen Pregnancy Numbers to Go Up?

14 Oct

That would be a good question for Senators Lazich, Galloway, Grothman and Leibham as well as Representatives Thiesfeldt, Bernier, Bies, Brooks, Craig, Jacque, Kleefisch, Knodl, Kooyenga, Tom Larson, Litjens, Meyer, Nass, Nygren, Alvin Ott, Pridemore, Ripp, Spanbauer, Strachota, Stroebel, Wynn, Ziegelbauer and LeMahieu who have all signed on to a bill that would repeal the Healthy Youth Act.

On Wednesday, October 19, 2011 at noon in room 201 Southeast at the State Capitol, the Senate Education Committee will have a hearing to repeal the Healthy Youth Act, a bill passed during the Doyle Administration that raised the state standards for human growth and development curriculum in public schools. The proposal to repeal the law is so poorly timed, it’s astounding. In light of the recent news that teen birthrates in Milwaukee have plunged for the second straight year, we know that for this and other reasons comprehensive sex ed works to keep young people informed of the facts of how their bodies work and how they can protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections or unplanned pregnancy.

Why do these legislators want to roll back the clock and keep teens in the dark about the facts of life? You’ll hear a lot of myths about sex ed from so-called family values, anti-gay and anti-abortion activists on Wednesday. Read more about the myths versus the facts on our blog.

Call your state legislators and tell them to keep comprehensive sex ed for Wisconsin students. In Madison: 266-9960; Toll-free: 1-800-362-9472

Students: Concerned About Your Voting Rights?

6 Oct

The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin is concerned about today’s decision by the Government Accountability Board not to permit the use of stickers to modify college ID cards in order to make them voting compliant. This decision reverses the GAB’s recent position that use of stickers would be acceptable. The ACLU also objects to the GAB’s decision to prohibit the use of ID cards from accredited technical colleges in Wisconsin, an action likely to make voting more difficult for technical college students – many of whom are students of color.

These actions are just the latest manifestations of efforts to restrict the voting rights of Wisconsin students. The most significant underlying action is, of course, the legislature’s passage of a restrictive voter ID law that not only requires voters to show photo ID in order to vote, but disallows the use of existing, secure, college and university ID cards. This law appears clearly designed to make it much more difficult for students to vote.

While some colleges apparently plan to create voting-compliant ID cards – and we urge every Wisconsin college and university to do so as soon as possible – it is not clear that all Wisconsin colleges will issue separate ID cards, and none have yet created compliant cards.

The ACLU is asking that Wisconsin college, technical college and university students who reside in Wisconsin and want to vote in Wisconsin but lack Wisconsin drivers’ licenses, Wisconsin state ID cards, and passports, contact our intake coordinator at 414-272-4032 x 216, or We are especially interested in talking with students who expect they will have difficulty getting a compliant ID (for example, because they lack easy access to a DMV office, or will have difficulty getting the underlying documents they need for an ID card).

The ACLU of Wisconsin urges college and university administrators to take all steps necessary to ensure that the Voter ID law does not deprive students of their Constitutional right to vote.

Student Contact: ACLU of WI Intake Coordinator, 414-272-4032 x 216 or