Question 6: Sexual health is a key environmental issue. Yet abortion is fast becoming heavily politicized, contraceptive services are underfunded, young people are being failed by an inadequate sex and relationships education programme and STIs are rising across all age groups. What will you do to put reproductive health care at the heart of Green Party policies?
The leader is bound to promote party policy and the Philosophical Basis, neither of which would claim reproductive health is "at the heart" of our policies. But it's an extremely important issue, on which fortunately we have excellent and recently-updated policies, and from professional experience I feel well equipped to.
We really have to change the way we address this problem. In Cuba you can get an HIV test and free contraceptives from a table outside the town square on a Saturday night. Contraceptive funding represents a fundamental issue for all generations, and should be increased.
The Green Party has clear and progressive policies on sexual health issues. As a councillor I became aware of how advice and information was not easily available to all despite a range of services being available. Our elected councillors could work to improve liaison between schools, colleges and services, and fight to protect funding whilst acknowledging the links between poverty, deprivation and.
As founding chair of Green Party Women and a trustee of the Fawcett Society, having moved conference motions on abortion and maternity services, and spoken for the party regularly on reproductive health, I believe these are already at the heart of our policies. I'd work to keep it that way. We should be working on both national and international levels (see an article I just wrote for Red Pepper).
Deputy Leader candidates
Fight against cuts to health services and family and youth services. Many councils cutting these or taking the "Big Society" route of charities and volunteers. Some are looking at contracting out to religious group which clearly have their own agenda; I think we need to guard against this.?We should point up the clear social, economic and environmental benefits of people having the right to control their own reproduction plus the health benefits for everyone of safe sex.
I think that our improving sex education in state schools is beginning to be more effective with teenage pregnancy rates in England and Wales reaching their lowest since 1969 and the rate of increase of STIs reducing I think that we need to continue and expand sex education throughout society.
We must be careful not to preach contraception to poorer people and poorer countries. The depletion of resources in the world is more about the amount used by the so called developed Nations than the number of people in the less developed Countries.
I am a pro-choice feminist and have always viewed sexual health as a major social justice issue. Poorer people are shown to have children earlier, affecting their prospects and disproportionately increasing inequality amongst women. Abortion needs to be depoliticised and tackled as a health issue, rather than a moral one. We need honest teaching about sexual health in our educational system and access to contraceptives seen as part of our universal welfare compact with citizens.
I have been active in Green Party Women for several years; we have excellent policies in this area, mostly because of this group's work (HE337-). We must promote these, making sure Greens are leading campaigns and improving the situation. One reason for standing for Deputy is that I am frustrated; we have so many great policies but aren't getting them out there. I want to change this.