Comprehensive Sex Education Bill Introduced in House and Senate
November 2, 2011 by Ty Cobb, Director of Global Engagement
Today, Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act. This legislation would provide youth and young adults with comprehensive sex education replacing ineffective abstinence-only programs and also would provide funding for teacher training in sex education. The legislation would make grants available to public or private entities that focus on adolescent health and education or have experience with training sex educators. Grants also would be available to institutions of higher education.
In response to introduction of the Act, HRC President Joe Solmonese stated, “Senator Lautenberg and Representative Lee understand that schools should be providing our nation’s youth with comprehensive, age-appropriate, evidence-based sex education.” He added, “[f]or too long our nation’s youth have been left in the dark without access to accurate information and resources. HRC has long opposed federal funding for abstinence-only programs because they exclude, or even denigrate, LGBT students. This bill ensures that all students, including LGBT students, receive the instruction and information they need to make informed, responsible life decisions.”
The Real Education for Healthy Youth Act would require, rather than merely encourage, inclusiveness of LGBT youth in sex education. It also would prohibit federal funding to programs that are insensitive and unresponsive to the needs of LGBT youth. The goals of the legislation include preventing unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, sexual abuse, dating violence, bullying, and harassment. The program also seeks to promote healthy relationships and aims to uphold the rights of youth to accurate information about sexual health. Federal funding would be prohibited for any programs that withhold information about HIV, are medically inaccurate or proven ineffective, promote gender stereotypes, are insensitive and unresponsive to the needs of sexually active or LGBT youth, or are inconsistent with ethical imperatives of medicine and public health.
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