29 August 2006

the difference in the shades.

As always, school and saving the world have swallowed my life. I'm taking Exceptional People, a special education class about people with disabilities and relating to them, as well as anyone else different than you in some way. I haven't been this excited about a class since I started Arabic two years ago. Hands on assignments to illustrate firsthand life with disabilities - after the dark restaurant in Paris, I can't wait. Part of the class is a 20-hour volunteer requirement with a person or people different than you in some way. Going along with my renewed determination to read the texts and understand the major world religions, I think I'm going to try to volunteer with a Gainesville Christian church's youth group or something similar. I can't think of a group different than me that I'm more uncomfortable with, and that's the whole point of the exercise. Stepping (more like leaping) outside my box. Thoughts? Anyone involved with a church willing to take on an nonbelieving volunteer for a semester?

In other news, it's an eventful time in reproductive choice:

The Florida legislature cut funding for Life Management Skills (LMS) classes in high school (hence dropping it from graduation requirements) to focus more on FCAT subjects. Among other things, LMS included "health" (aka. sex education). Sex ed will now be included in the one credit of physical education required for graduation, placing the sexual health of Florida's high schoolers in the hands of the state's ever-so-competent PE teachers. Speaking as a FL high school graduate, I'm scared. We've all seen the sex ed scene in Mean Girls: "Don't have sex. You'll get chlamydia and die. Now everyone take a rubber." Except Florida isn't so big on the "everyone take a rubber" part. *sigh*

In brighter news, the FDA has approved the first of two HPV vaccines. It's expensive at the moment, but with HPV affecting an estimated 20 million people in the United States alone (many without symptoms) and several aggressive varieties linked to cervical cancer in women, this is a huge breakthough.

And most exciting of all, the FDA finally (after three long years and a few false alarms) approved emergency contraception (EC, or Plan-B) for over-the-counter sale to women and men over 18. While the age restriction is a disappointment, since the FDA and other researchers have recommended it for women under 16 as well, the fact that it will soon be available without a prescription is a major step towards preventing unintended pregnancies and hence abortions. Since it is a time sensitive medication (effective within 5 days of unprotected intercourse, but the sooner the better), this will mean women no longer have to wait for a doctor's visit during office hours for a prescription. It should be available over-the-counter by the end of the year, but education campaigns are already underway, so spread the good news.

1 comment:

stephanie said...

my friend kaitlyn does youth group at a church. e-mail me your number and i will connect you both.