55TH Commission on the Status of Women
EMPOWERING GIRLS AND WOMEN THROUGH REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH
The World Youth Alliance recognizes that all persons have an intrinsic dignity which demands respect for the human body, human life and human flourishing. The biological and social nature of human sexuality demands an approach to reproductive health that takes the whole person into account. The World Youth Alliance recognizes that a knowledge-based approach to reproductive health will help persons to understand more fully their physiological and reproductive capacities and more importantly will develop a greater respect of our biological potential and wonder. This leads to a greater sense of one’s own self-worth and value, and the worth and value of others, a solidarity that promotes the flourishing of persons and societies.
Knowledge-based reproductive health and education builds on the most recent medical developments on women’s reproductive health, and the recognition that human sexuality is both biological and social in nature and constitutes just one part of the whole human person. Knowledge-based reproductive health methods teach a woman to understand her fertility and reproductive system, enabling pregnancy achievement or avoidance, with the same use-effectiveness as the pill. Uniquely, this method tracks a woman’s biomarkers providing a “snapshot” of her full reproductive health-identifying infertility, cysts and endometriosis prior to the onset of symptoms. This knowledge is also important for men; learning the intricacies of a woman’s reproductive health system, men can more fully respect women, and learn to work together to achieve sexual and family goals. Understanding sexuality in both its biological and social nature develops free and mature decision making and self-control. This model recognizes the relation between character and future health and well-being. The daily discipline required to achieve its results encourages future-mindedness, self-control, character development and academic achievement.
The World Youth Alliance recognizes that a knowledge-based approach to reproductive health has the whole person as its basis and human flourishing as its end. It proposes to develop a more holistic and healthy identity by placing sexuality within its proper context of a person’s whole life, their goals, desires and purpose. This approach is critical to ensuring long-term health and well-being, and empowering women and men with the skills and character to make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual choices, marriage and child-rearing and educational, career and vocational goals.
The World Youth Alliance invites you to an event on
THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY
Join Dr. Miriam Grossman as she discusses a knowledge based approach for empowering girls.
March 1st from 10am-11:30am
Salvation Army Headquarters
221 e. 52nd Street
Dr. Miriam Grossman is a Scholar In Residence at the World Youth Alliance and a physician with training in pediatrics as well as child, adolescent and adult psychiatry. The author of three books about sexual health, she has been on over 200 radio, news, and television shows. In addition, Dr. Grossman has spoken internationally to parents, students, educators, policy makers and health professionals. In March 2010 she spoke at the United Nations Council on the Status of Women. Dr. Grossman graduated with honors from Bryn Mawr College and from New York University Medical School. She completed an internship in pediatrics at Beth Israel Hospital in New York City, and a residency in psychiatry at North Shore University Hospital – Cornell University Medical College, followed by a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at the same institution. Dr. Grossman is board certified in psychiatry and in the sub-specialty of child and adolescent psychiatry. Dr. Grossman lives in Los Angeles, California with her family.
For questions about the event, please e-mail Christopher White (Christopher@wya.net)
WYA Interview with Miriam Grossman, MD.
What are the hidden challenges and needs facing girls today that are currently under served?
Most people are aware of the social, educational, health and other challenges facing young girls today. Overlooked is the fact that girls have unique biological sensitivities that increase their vulnerability to the negative consequences of sexual activity. For example, the adolescent cervix is a way biology tells girls to wait to become sexually active. It’s immature and vulnerable to infection due to a delicate area called the transformation zone. The T-zone is covered by only one layer of cells, so bacteria and viruses, especially HPV, can take up residence with ease. With time, the T-zone is replaced by many layers of cells that are more difficult to penetrate, making infection less likely.
What is comprehensive sex education and is it important?
Sex education, like all health matters, should be based on biological truths. That’s obvious, right? But the websites and curricula created for young people by “comprehensive” sex educators omit critical biological facts. Contrary to their claims, these groups do not provide students with medically accurate, up to date information. The priority of organizations like Planned Parenthood and SIECUS is radical social change. While it is noble to fight social injustice, the goal of health education must be to keep people out of the doctor’s office. When sex education is based on social agendas instead of science, it gives young people a false sense of security, and the consequences are disastrous.
Your approach to reproductive health and sexual education has focused on science and knowledge based methods. In your research and practice, what have you discovered is missing in comprehensive sex education?
There are a staggering number of critical items that are omitted from reproductive health and sexual education, among them:
*Intimate behavior causes the release of a hormone from the brain that promotes feelings of attachment and trust, even if you are with a stranger. This appears to be particularly true in girls and women.
*All sexually transmitted infections and HIV are 100% avoidable by delaying sexual activity, finding someone else who waited, and then remaining monogamous. From a health perspective, that is the ideal.
*A girl’s immature cervix increases her vulnerability to genital infections. HIV aside, girls and women carry 80% of the burden of negative consequences from early sexual behavior and multiple partners.
*Feces are filled with dangerous pathogens. Contact with the anus is associated with serious infectious diseases such as salmonella, shigella, and hepatitis A, B, and C.
*The physiology and anatomy of the anus is vastly different from the vagina. Regarding HIV transmission, anal intercourse is at least twenty times more dangerous than vaginal intercourse.
*As stated on condom wrappers, breakage is more likely to occur during anal intercourse
*Oral sex with multiple partners is associated with throat cancer. There is compelling evidence that HPV causes cancer of the tongue and tonsils the same way it does in the cervix.
*Chlamydia may cause fertility problems even if it is detected and treated in a timely manner. Sex-ed material reassures girls that if they follow guidelines, get tested once or twice a year, and take antibiotics when necessary, they’ll be cured. But that’s not always the case.
In your writings you discuss the link between hormones and human bonding. What is the relationship there and how do they shape our experience and relationships with other people?
A young woman has unique biological sensitivities that increase her vulnerability to the consequences of sexual activity. For example, intimacy releases oxytocin, a primarily female hormone that fuels feelings of attachment and trust. This chemical turns red lights green. It alters brain chemistry, so she’s more likely to overlook a guy’s faults, and to take risks she otherwise wouldn’t. These are things that people should be educated about, along with all the education about contraceptives and the availability of abortion.
Going forward, how can we better protect and empower girls and women?
We need to have our sex education based on biology, not ideology. Biology flatly rejects the idea that women are just like men. Girls are protected and empowered when they have a knowledge and understanding of their unique gifts, especially their sexuality. This empowers them to make prudent decisions concerning their sexual activity, decisions which lead to greater reproductive, emotional and psychological health.