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February 24, 2016 (CNSNews) – A Pennsylvania-based non-profit group dedicated to giving young people access to birth control and “sexuality education” has launched a free app that connects “teens and young adults ages 14-24 with accurate, timely information about sexual and reproductive health.”

AccessMatters launched the app, dubbed “It Matters,” last week, and a spokesperson with the organization told CNSNews.com that the app was funded by grants from Health and Human Services’ Title X Family Planning and the Centers for Disease Control’s teen pregnancy prevention program.

“Users can find answers to common questions on topics such as relationships, birth control options, LGBT health, STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases), and more,” a press release announcing the release of the app stated. “The app even features a video explaining what to expect during a visit to a health center, featuring local youth from Philadelphia,” including one who identifies herself as a lesbian.

“The trend is continuing to shift away from consumers searching websites for health information and toward accessing mobile apps from their smartphones for up to date, accurate health information,” Melissa Weiler Gerber, president and CEO of AccessMatters, said in the press release.

“We are pleased to unveil this mobile app in response to the changing needs and preferences of teens and young adults who can benefit from care at AccessMatters’ Network health centers and consumers, generally,” she added.

The app currently provides information for finding birth control and other services at clinics located in Southeastern Pennsylvania, but anyone who downloads it can access the “education” information, which includes telling users that minors do not have to have parental permission to access birth control.

The Pennsylvania American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) explains that state law allows minors to “consent to confidential contraceptive care and counseling,” as well as to have access to abortifacient “emergency contraceptives” without parental consent.

In the “Common Questions” portion of the app under “relationships,” a “guy” asks about being attracted to other “guys.” The answer states that guys can be attracted to other guys, girls or both guys and girls.

Weiler Gerber said providing this kind of information is designed to “educate and protect youth.”

“We want to ensure teens and young adults have the information and tools they need to live healthy and happy lives,” Weiler Gerber said. “The best way to do that is to reach them where they are, with candid, positive messages that resonate with them.”

A spokesperson with AccessMatters told CNSNews.com that there are plans to expand the clinic location function of the app across the state of Pennsylvania, and other changes are also planned.

“AccessMatters will add more dynamic content and launch future phases of the app with increased functionality,” the AccessMatters press release stated.

“Features may include allowing a user to set automatic reminders for health appointments or to take medication, trivia or quizzes testing user knowledge of sexual and reproductive health topics, and expanding the age range for users and providing tailored information based on age, sexual orientation, and gender.”

Reprinted with permission from CNS News.

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