Michigan

Expectant and parenting youth deserve access to quality support services, resources, and protections to raise their children, continue their education, gain employment, and live and thrive in their communities. Unfortunately, many teen pregnancy prevention initiatives shame and stigmatize young people who become parents. With support from NIRH, the Michigan Organization on Adolescent Sexual Health (MOASH) is launching its Michigan Young Parent Advisory Council (MY PAC), a youth-led cohort of expectant and parenting youth in Saginaw, MI. MY PAC leaders learn about their rights to reproductive and sexual health information and services and build their leadership and advocacy skills. Together, they are then using these skills to develop and organize for local policies that will support happy, healthy, and thriving young people and their families. MY PAC is an opportunity to ensure that the voices, needs, and autonomy of young moms and dads are included in Saginaw’s approach to advancing reproductive and sexual health. Sexual Education Advisory Boards (SEABs) are youth- and community-informed boards required by Michigan law to guide sex education curriculum in their communities. NIRH is working with the Michigan Organization on Adolescent Sexual Health’s (MOASH) DASHES Program to institute a youth- and community-informed, district-wide, integrated program of services and trainings to develop effective SEABs. They will then work with the Detroit board, alongside other stakeholders, to establish a framework for teaching sexuality education that addresses the systemic oppression young people in Detroit face. With the National Institute's support, Michigan Organization on Adolescent Sexual Health implemented its Michigan Youth Rights initiative in 2015 to reduce the harm of the state’s forced parental consent for abortion law, while also building a coalition to advocate for the law’s repeal and for the rights of young people. MOASH conducted a comprehensive assessment of judicial bypass procedures in all of Michigan’s 83 county court systems and worked with their youth advisory council to create an online portal, MY RIGHTS, where young people can access information and resources on judicial bypass. MOASH also developed a fact sheet for court employees on the legal rights of minors seeking judicial bypass.