For the second time this week, The International Youth (Reproductive Health) Speak Out Tour has received media coverage for its program featuring young activists from the US and the global south fighting for youth sexual and reproductive health and rights.  This time, KBIA 91.3,  a University-licensed, community-supported not-for-profit institution, actively involved in the life of the mid-Missouri area, covered the IYSO at Missouri University in Columbia, MO.  Here’s the article from KBIA’s website along with the audio broadcasted on Thursday, March 25th.

Youth Activists Discuss Sexual Health At MU

from KBIA, public radio, Jashin Lin (2010-03-25)

COLUMBIA, MO (KBIA) – Four young women stood before a small gathering of University of Missouri students last night and spoke passionately about HIV/AIDS, contraceptives, abortion practices, sex education, maternal deaths, transactional sex and other reproductive health issues.

For a U.S. university student, information and reproductive health care might be accessible or even taken for granted, but the activists’ message was than even basic, factual information can be difficult to come by, if not outright distorted in a developing country.

Education as a Vaccine against AIDS executive director Fadekemi Akinfaderin says these issues can be particularly acute among youths.

“Especially when you think about family planning programs, because you tend to think it’s for married individuals. But the fact is that, when you think about unintended pregnancies, it’s highest among young people, when you think about unsafe abortion, it’s highest among young people, when you think about maternal deaths, it’s highest among young people. HIV rates are highest among young people. So it’s really important for us to bring issues of young people to the forefront.”

It wasn’t just an informational session.

While the activists showed clips from a documentary interviewing young people in Jamaica, Ethiopia, and other developing countries on reproductive health issues, the main focus of the evening seemed to on a call to action to the members of the audience.

Priti Gautam is the global health program director of Americans for Informed Democracy.

She says all four activists will visit Senator Kit Bond today (Thursday) and lobby for his sponsorship for the Global Sexual and Reproductive Health Act of 2010, as well as a possible $1 billion from the 2011 appropriations budget for reproductive health and family planning programs.

“Tomorrow at our meeting we’re going to point that out to Senator Bond – that, by increasing access to more comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services that we’re going to achieve millennium development goals that decrease maternal mortality and child mortality. So it will help the world in the long run in development, and without his support, he will hinder that from happening.”

Gautam says previous U.S. funding for family planning programs under the Bush administration tended towards programs with an emphasis on abstinence, with a global gag rule on funding programs for abortion.

The event was sponsored by the MU student groups Feminist Student Union, the American Association of Women MU affiliate, and BODYTALK.

Jashin Lin, KBIA News. © Copyright 2010, KBIA

For the full article and audio file, Click Here.