It’s a common local misconception, according to community health education major and Voices for Planned Parenthood intern Pam Hatch, that Utah women have no need for cervical cancer screenings and vaccinations, emergency contraception or contraception in general. “People have histories and then settle down,” Hatch said. “Why wouldn’t you want to be protected?”
According to a report issued by the Huntsman Cancer Institute, 11,150 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2007. The National Women’s Health Information Center lists cervical cancer as the second leading killer of women in the world.
Another misconception, if you track the statistical data, is teaching Utah adolescents that the only truly effective form of contraception is abstinence, a rationale that, in early 2000, prompted state legislation making abstinence only the solitary legal sex ed curriculum in Utah. In a Deseret News article dated Feb. 26, 2000, Rep. Bill Wright (R) stated on the House floor, “There are no failures with abstinence.” In the same article, Rep. Mary Carlson responded saying, “Ignorance is never the best policy. It only fosters more ignorance. Abstinence is also a method of birth control that has a very, very high failure rate. It fails because people don’t practice it.”
It is these fallacies that Voices for Planned Parenthood (VOX), a nationwide student advocacy group seeking to educate the public on issues regarding sexual health and rights, is working to cast off. VOX is currently circulating a petition that will be presented to the state legislature next spring asking lawmakers to widen Utah’s sex ed curriculum to include contraception and sexually transmitted diseases, both of which are illegal to teach under current Utah Law.
With the month of October being breast and cervical cancer awareness month, the UVU VOX club is advocating that uninsured UVU students take advantage of services for the uninsured offered by UVU’s Wellness Center on campus at either no or at greatly reduced cost. Discounted services range from general health exams, which would be provided to breast and pelvic exams and cervical cancer vaccines.
UVU VOX club will have a booth set up on campus Oct. 10-13 and will host a panel discussion Oct. 15.