WORCESTER—The Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts (PPAF) has endorsed a slate of Worcester City Council and School Committee candidates who are dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of all Worcester residents and implementing comprehensive sex education in Worcester Public Schools.
PPAF endorsed Mayor Joe Petty, Councilor At-Large Moe Bergman, Councilor At-Large Khrystian King, and candidate for City Council At-Large Etel Haxhiaj. PPAF also endorsed Councilor Sean Rose (District 1) and Councilor George Russell (District 3). For School Committee, PPAF endorsed Molly McCullough along with several challengers: Dr. Cara Berg Powers, Chantel Bethea, Tracy O’Connell Novick, and John Trobaugh.
“These local leaders share the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund’s vision of a stronger, healthier city in which every young person has the information and resources they need to stay safe and healthy. Each candidate is committed to working with the community to expand access to health care, reduce sexual and reproductive health disparities, and empower young people to lead healthy, fulfilling lives. The Advocacy Fund is proud to partner with them in this work,” said Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshak, PPAF president.
Medically accurate, age-appropriate, LGBTQ-inclusive, comprehensive sex education curricula teach the benefits of delaying sex as well as how to prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections if a person does have sex, and how to build healthy, respectful relationships. Unlike abstinence-only programs, such curricula have been proven to work. The rising rates of sexually transmitted infections, disparate teen birth rates, and the culture of sexual misconduct brought to light by the #MeToo era underscores the urgent need to listen to community voices. Parents, educators, public health officials and young people have been calling on Worcester Public Schools to implement a comprehensive sex education curriculum that meets the needs of its students.
To earn PPAF’s endorsement, candidates for city council must promote policies that make health care more accessible and defend reproductive rights; candidates for school committee must champion age-appropriate, medically accurate comprehensive sex education. Each of the candidates endorsed by PPAF today has made clear they are committed to these issues. Each understands that access to health care and comprehensive sex education play a pivotal role in disrupting health disparities, closing the achievement gap, and establishing economic security.
PPAF will run volunteer-driven voter education programs and grassroots efforts informing voters about where candidates stand to ensure decisive electoral victories of these reproductive health and sex education advocates.
Worcester will hold its preliminary election on September 10. The general election will be held on November 5. PPAF has also endorsed candidates in the Boston and Springfield municipal races.
A July 2018 poll commissioned by Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts found likely Massachusetts voters strongly believe that sex education should be taught in school. Support for students receiving sex education in high school is very strong as 78% likely voters strongly agree with that policy. Additionally, 3-in-4 likely voters agree that students have a right to receive sex education in middle school. Likely Massachusetts voters strongly agree that sex education classes should teach a curriculum that includes a comprehensive range of topics instead of an abstinence-only curriculum. Three-in-four strongly agree that curriculum should include topics such as caring for your sexual health, as well as how to build healthy, respectful relationships and understand consent.