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Defining "Medically Accurate": Sometimes It's Good to be Discriminating

Posted by Ryan Morgan on June 04, 2013 at 4:59 PM
Generally speaking, I’m pro-inclusion. Women getting the vote? Yes, please! Racially integrating schools? You betcha! Gay marriage? Love is love, man. [caption id="attachment_4779" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Captain Planet, arbiter of inclusion Captain Planet, arbiter of inclusion[/caption] But you can call me Bull Connor when it comes to defining terms like “medically accurate.” Wait no, that’s a horrible idea…please don’t. [caption id="attachment_4780" align="aligncenter" width="240"]Bull Connor, discriminator in the worst sense Bull Connor, discriminator in the worst sense[/caption] The point is, I am discriminating when it comes to defining “medically accurate.” That’s why Rep. Andy Patrick’s amendment to the sex ed reform bill makes me wanna force feed Hillary Swank milk and raw eggs. Again. Horrible. I would never harm an iron-jawed angel. [caption id="attachment_4781" align="aligncenter" width="194"]Relax.  No one's going to harm Alice Paul or any one who portrays Alice Paul Relax. No one's going to harm Alice Paul or any one who portrays Alice Paul[/caption] Although it should NOT be, the definition of medically accurate takes on different definitions in different states. Whenever you hear any one talk about medically accurate, make sure you find out WHO gets to decide the definition. States like Arizona and Oklahoma look to their Department of Health Services or Department of Education to ensure the medical accuracy of their HIV/AIDS instruction. If school districts offer sex ed in Colorado, it must be “based on scientific research” and “medically accurate according to published authorities upon which medical professional generally rely.” Hawaii sets an even more rigorous standard:
Medically accurate is defined as verified or supported by research conducted in compliance with accepted scientific methods and recognized as accurate and objective by professional organizations and agencies with expertise in the relevant field, such as the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Public Health Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
In South Carolina, Rep. B.R. Skelton’s original sex ed reform bill set an equally high standard for the integrity of sex ed instruction:
All health education instruction must be verified and supported by research in compliance with scientific methods, published in peer-reviewed medical or health journals, be medically accurate and objective according to leading medical or health organizations including, but not limited to, the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This makes sense, right? We want the experts, the folks who went through years of training and education, who comprise the most prestigious medical and health organizations to make the call on what counts as the best sex education information. Unfortunately, Rep. Patrick’s amendment to H.3435 waters down the original definition:
’Medically accurate information’ means information that has been supported by peer-reviewed research which complies with accepted scientific methods, published in or by medical, scientific, psychological, sociological, government or public health publications, organizations or agencies, or information presented or provided by a reputable organization or agency which has expertise relating to sexual health. (section 1, paragraph 9)
What does this mean? Note the “or” – information accepted in expert peer reviewed publications OR information accepted by a “reputable organization.” And what does that mean? Rep. Patrick opens up the definition of medically accurate to, in his own words, “protect scholarly abstinence groups” whose work hasn’t been published in an academic journal. Seriously. Check it out for yourself. Patrick vid How about protecting the health of South Carolina youth instead of special interest groups?  If the scholarship and research isn’t deemed medically accurate by experts in medical and health fields, then it’s not ready for South Carolina schools. Email Rep. Patrick and tell him to reconsider his amendment which waters down the definition of medically accurate information.

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