Medical Students Call for Expansion of Access to Preventive Health Care Services and Comprehensive Education Programs

For Immediate Release

Medical Students Call for Expansion of Access to Preventive Health Care Services and Comprehensive Education Programs

RESTON, Va. - The American Medical Student Association (AMSA), the nation's largest, independent medical student association, is engaging in a nationwide event to ensure increases to family planning services and comprehensive sexual education for all Americans. On Wednesday, September 17th, AMSA members across the country will host an educational event and call in to urge their legislators to support the Prevention First Act. The Prevention First Act (H.R. 819/S.21) introduced in the 110th Congress by Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) and Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY) is an omnibus family planning initiative that expands access to preventive health care services and education programs to help reduce unintended pregnancy, prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and support healthy families by improving women's health - all while saving scarce public health dollars.

"It is important to take action on this legislation because as future physicians we recognize the obstacles our patients face when it comes to accessing accurate, comprehensive reproductive health care services and education and we must work to decrease these obstacles" David Call, National LGBT Policy Coordinator for AMSA.

In the U.S. approximately half of all pregnancies are unintended, and nearly half of these end in abortion. By increasing access to family planning services, we can work to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and therefore abortion. Furthermore, the U.S. has the highest rate of sexually transmitted infections for industrialized nations, which disproportionately affect teenagers and young adults. Multiple studies show that these numbers can be reduced through comprehensive sexual education and increased access to healthcare services.

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"Comprehensive sex education is key to reducing the growing rate of sexually transmitted infections, ensuring the correct use of contraception, and providing youth with the medically accurate information they need in facing the decision to engage in sexual activity, " says Brian Hurley AMSA's National President.

In addition to increasing access to family planning services and comprehensive sex education, the Prevention First Act will also increase federal funding to provide medically accurate education regarding emergency contraception (EC). This important act will ensure that victims of sexual assaults and rape will be provided with information and access to EC. "No woman that has had to endure the trauma of a sexual assault should have to further endure the experience of being denied access to EC if they request it" says Call.

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