For Immediate Release
April 8, 2016
Contact: Kristina Romines
(202) 265-2405 ext 333
Real Education for Healthy Youth Act offers new vision for U.S. sex education
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Yesterday, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act, joining Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) in laying out a comprehensive and holistic vision for sex education policy in the United States.
The current federal investment in adolescent sexual health promotion programs is an important step in the right direction, but much remains to be done to strengthen, enhance, and expand these efforts. The availability of sexuality education and quality of sexual health information varies drastically across the country.
The Real Education for Healthy Youth Act would establish the first-ever dedicated federal funding for comprehensive sexuality education for elementary and secondary schools, institutes of higher learning, and teacher training while ensuring that federal funds are spent on science-based, age-, and developmentally-appropriate, and medically accurate instruction.
“SIECUS commends Senator Booker and Congresswoman Lee for their leadership in introducing this landmark legislation and their continued commitment to providing young people with the comprehensive sexuality education they need to lead healthy lives,” said Jesseca Boyer, Vice President for Policy, Interim President & CEO, Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS).
“While critical advancements have been made in how the federal government addresses youth sexual health, we still have a long way to go before the needs of young people are fully met,” continues Boyer.
Less than 50% of all high schools and only 20% of middle schools in the U.S. provide a minimum of topics critical to ensuring sexual health. This failure perpetuates disproportionate burden and health disparities among young people.
Despite the need to equip and empower young people with the information and skills they need to lead sexually health lives, funds continue to be wasted on abstinence-only-until-marriage programs that inherently withhold lifesaving and affirming information from young people.
“The Real Education for Healthy Youth Act sets the new gold standard for the federal government: what it should, and should not, be supporting with regards to sex education. This legislation sets the path forward to ensure that all young people finally receive the information and skills they need to make informed, responsible, and safe decisions about their sexual health,” says Boyer.
The Real Education for Healthy Youth Act is cosponsored by Senators Baldwin, Blumenthal, Brown, Franken, Gillibrand, Hirono, Menendez, Murray, Sanders, Warren, and Wyden and has 55 House cosponsors. The legislation is supported by 47 national organizations.
The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS) has served as the national voice for sexuality education, sexual health and sexual rights for over 50 years. SIECUS affirms that sexuality is a fundamental part of being human, one that is worthy of dignity and respect. We advocate for the right of all people to accurate information, comprehensive education about sexuality, and sexual health services. SIECUS works to create a world that ensures social justice and sexual rights.