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Sex Stories: Week in Review, 2/21-2/28/14

Sexual Health Rankings presents Sex Stories, a weekly roundup of sexual health news from around the country.

Arizona Governor Vetoes Anti-LGBT Discrimination Bill (

On Wednesday, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a bill passed by the legislature that would allow parties to use religious beliefs to defend themselves against discrimination lawsuits. The bill led to an intense national debate about religious freedom, civil liberties, and discrimination.

Dem Candidate for Harris DA Says Domestic Violence is ‘Overrated’ (Texas Observer)

A candidate for Texas District Attorney recently came under fire for his remarks that minimized the seriousness of interpersonal violence. In addition to arguing that resources should be diverted away from family violence in order to try other cases, he also argued that most assaults should not be prosecuted because they are deserved.

Judge Strikes Down Tex. Same-Sex Marriage Ban, Paving Way for Shift in Conservative State (Washington Post)

A federal judge struck down Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage on the basis of it being “state-imposed inequality.” His logic mirrored that of other judges in recent decisions, specifically that such unions are neither a new right nor a privilege separate from heterosexual marriage. The law, however, does not allow same -sex marriages just yet as it is waiting appeal.

Study Backs DNA Tests for Disorders in Low-Risk Pregnancies (LA Times)

A new study of over 1900 low-risk women showed that the DNA test for genetic disorders did a better job of identifying them and had a significantly lower rate of false-positives than standard tests. The study aimed to examine whether DNA testing, approved for use in high-risk pregnancies, could also be used in low-risk ones. Researchers hope better screening tests will decrease the need for more advance and invasive procedures such as amniocentesis.

Feds Investigating MSU Response to Sex Assaults (WZZM13)

The US Department of Education visited Michigan State University this week as part of their investigation of sexual harassment and violence complaints against the university. Representatives held focus groups and office hours to learn more about the campus’ climate and process for investigating such offenses. MSU officials say they “responded fully and appropriately” and that MSU is a leader in this area; however, students say the university could do more.

Pastor is Vocal on Sexual Health (Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel)

One Milwaukee pastor is speaking up about sexual health and disease prevention. In addition to encouraging abstinence, she also encouraged the congregation to carry condoms and know their status. She hopes to spread a message of acceptance and says that the church needs to be more vocal and teach their congregations that there are ways to protect themselves from disease.

Foes of Transgender Rights Law Fail to Force Vote (ABC News)

County officials determined that there were not enough valid signatures to force a public vote on a California statue that allows transgender students to make decisions based on their expressed gender. Proponents of the bill feel it will create more inclusive and welcoming school environments. Opponents, however, say it will contribute to abuses and awkwardness. They currently are reviewing disqualified signatures and “preparing for the next stage of the battle.”

New York Revenge Porn Case Thrown Out (CBS News)

The first revenge porn case tried in New York state found the defendant not guilty. The decision was based on the fact that revenge porn does not violate any specific criminal statute. Advocates argue that such a ruling directly relates to a gap in the law when it comes to properly handling cyber harassment. They further argue that it supports the need for specific revenge porn laws similar to those in New Jersey and California.

Columbia Reports LGB Individuals Living in Anti-Gay Communities Die Early (ASPPH Friday Letter)

According to a new study linking anti-gay prejudice to mortality data, lesbian, gay, and bisexual persons living in anti-gay communities have a significantly shorter life expectancy than their peers living in more welcoming ones. Rates of suicide, homicide, violence, and heart disease were also elevated in communities with high rates of prejudice.

Texas Finds Additional Education May Help Delay Teen Sex and Reduce Risky Sexual Behavior (ASPPH Friday Letter)

A follow-up study to an earlier trial of two middle school sex education programs shows that their impacts are not fully sustained into high school. Those who received the program were less likely to have initiated anal sex, engaged in fewer risky sex behaviors, and maintained the knowledge gained. However, rates of oral and vaginal sex initiation were not different between the experimental and control groups. Their results argue in favor of additional education beyond the middle school years.

Sex Stories, Week in Review: 2/14/14

Sexual Health Rankings presents Sex Stories, a weekly roundup of sexual health news from around the country.

Portsmouth, NH, Considers Transgender Protections
(New Hampshire Public Radio)

Portsmouth could become the first city in New Hampshire to enact a policy protecting city employees who are transgender from workplace discrimination. At present, New Hampshire is the only state in New England that does not have a law protecting people from discrimination based on gender identity. That’s despite the state’s laws protecting individuals based on sexual orientation, gender, race, creed, marital status, or disability.

13 People Out of Jail after Being Arrested for Protesting at Capital Hill (4Utah)

More than a dozen protesters were jailed and promptly released after attempting to force Utah legislators to hear Senate Bill 100. The bill would prohibit discimination in housing and eomployment based on sexual orientation. Legislators say they are waiting for the results from the legal battle over Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage before they hear the anti-discrimination bill.

U.S. Expands Legal Benefits, Services for Same-Sex Marriages (CNN)

On Monday, the federal government announced it would recognize lawful same-sex marriages in federal legal matters. This expansion includes the states where same-sex marriage is not legal; however, the benefits there will only be for federal matters such as bankruptcies, prison visits, and survivor benefits.

Judge: Ky. Must Recognize Same-Sex Marriages (Seattle Pi)

In similar news, a federal judge struck down part of a state ban he felt demeaned LGBTQ individuals. KY’s government can still define marriage and attach benefits to it, but cannot discriminate against individuals for religious or traditional reasons. The ruling means only that Kentucky must recognize lawful same-sex marriages. Meanwhile,federal hearings began on Wednesday to challenge Texas’ ban of same-sex marriage.

FDA: Female Sex Drive Drug Needs More Research (CNN)

The FDA has requested additional testing for a drug that could treat low libido in women. Sprout Pharmaceuticals, the makers of the drug, feel encouraged by this step and will resubmit a new application later this year. The drug, flibanserin treats Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder which affects up to one-third of women.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s Fight to Change Military System for Dealing with Sexual Assault Heads to Final Showdown (NY Daily News)

Sen. Gillibrand currently has 54 public supporters of her bill to remove sexual assult cases from the military’s chain of command. She needs 60 votes to clear the Senate fillibuster that tabled the bill back in December. Gillibrand’s aides are continuing to lobby undecided senators and with their support, along with some silent backers, she is confident they will reach the required number.

Q&A: SHR 2013

Have questions about changes in the new edition of Sexual Health Rankings? Post your question in the comments section below, and we’ll reply with an answer.

Sex Stories: Week in Review, 2/07/14

Sexual Health Rankings presents Sex Stories, a weekly roundup of sexual health news from around the country.

Study on Stroke in Women Focuses on Risks From Pregnancy (Wall Street Journal)

New guidelines from the American Heart Association include specific recommendations for females to reduce their risk of stroke. Recommendations include monitoring blood-pressure in women on oral contraceptives and taking steps to avoid preeclampsia during pregnancy.

Abortion Rates Lowest in 40 Years (CNN)

A new report from the Guttmacher Institute found that abortion rates fell 13% between 2008 and 2011. The decline is thought to be related to an overall drop in pregnancy and birth rates, improved contraceptive use, and the recession. The same report also showed that states have passed over 200 restrictions on abortion since 2011.

Virginia Bill to Decriminalize Sex Outside of Marriage Stalls (NBC News)

The repeal of a law against fornication, one of Virginia’s “morality laws” was put on hold this week. Lawmakers were worried that changes to the law would provide loopholes to those who commit incest and other sex crimes. Virginia also made headlines this week as the opening arguments were heard in the federal challenge of the state’s ban against same sex marriage.

Teens Having Less Sex, at Least at One Bay Area School (SF Gate)

Every five years, Redwood High School students fill out an anonymous survey about sex, similar to those used by public health agencies. The most recent results show an overall decline in students having intercourse and those who think homosexuality is an illness. The survey dates back to the 1970s.

SHR 2013 Update

The new and improved edition of Sexual Health Rankings is now scheduled for release on Wednesday, February 5. We are in the process of updating the Web site.