Sexuality and Legislation

Legislation introduced at both the state and federal levels has the potential to profoundly impact the sexual and reproductive health of American citizens, from abortion rights, to access to contraception, to parental rights for fathers. During nearly every legislative session, legislation is written and introduced that deals with a wide variety of sexual health topics. For this assignment, students will write a research paper about a particular sexual or reproductive health issue that is of interest to them and the way in which the issue is addressed through legislation. Students should select a particular topic and locate a pending piece of legislation using the following website:

• Provide a very brief introduction outlining your topic and the sections of your paper.
• Brief description of the issue: Include a brief description of the issue and any associated medical or health-related information about the particular issue. (Ex: If your legislation is related to abortion, you should define abortion and discuss the various types of abortion.)
• Outline and discuss significant events in the history of that particular issue. (Ex. If your legislation is related to sexual health education, discuss any significant social or cultural shifts, court cases, federal policies, etc.)
• Currently enacted legislation: Describe the current legislation or protection that exists regarding this particular issue. Discuss how the legislation that is currently enacted is limited – what doesn’t it do or provide? (Ex. If your legislation is related to gay marriage, what legislation is in place related to gay marriage or civil unions? What does the current legislation lack?)
• Provide a description of the proposed legislation that you have selected. What do the authors intend for the legislation to do? What does the legislation say about sex and sexuality for the legislation’s intended audience?
• Target population for proposed legislation: Describe the target population for the proposed legislation. Include demographic information from a reputable source (ex. Census data, CDC, etc.). How many people might this legislation affect if it were approved?
• Locate at least one advocacy group or organization working in favor of the specific piece of legislation and one working against it. Describe the position of each of these advocacy groups toward the piece of legislation that you have selected. What are their thoughts on the legislation? What arguments do they use? What support do they provide for those arguments?
• Discuss your opinion toward the proposed legislation. Do you think it would be effective? Why or why not? Describe any changes that you would make to the proposed legislation to increase the likelihood of effectiveness if passed.

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