For Immediate Release
Contact: Zach Eisenstein
30 Sex Ed State Bills Proposed in 2017 to Improve Sexual Violence Prevention Education, Few Enacted into Law
(Washington, DC) – Today, SIECUS released its 2017 Sex Ed State Legislative Year-End Report. The report offers an analysis of every state-level bill introduced in 2017 that relates to either advancing or restricting school-based sexuality education—including those focused on sexual violence prevention education.
In 2017, 64 related bills were introduced in 27 states and Puerto Rico. Of those, 43 sought to advance sexuality education, four sought to restrict it, nine bills had a “neutral” effect, and eight resulted in a “mixed impact.”
“While we’re encouraged to see that the majority of bills introduced this year aimed to advance sexuality education, it’s deeply discouraging to see so few actually become law—especially those related to including or improving sexual violence prevention instruction,” said Chitra Panjabi, SIECUS President & CEO.
According to the report, 30 bills included provisions related to sexual violence prevention instruction. This includes education focused on concepts such as healthy relationships, decision-making skills, communication skills, addressing unwanted advances, relationship violence and abuse, consent, and human trafficking.
However, only two laws (AB 643 and AB 1227) were enacted in California to advance education on preventing sexual violence. In Virginia, two laws (HB 2257 and SB 1475) were passed to allow instruction on consent in Virginia’s family life education curricula; however these laws do not require Virginia schools to provide this instruction.
“After seeing the #MeToo movement come to such prominence, we can only hope that this desire to identify, address, and, ultimately, end the epidemic of sexual violence will make its way into sexuality education. There is a severe, life-threatening gap here—we need to work to fill it as soon as possible,” said Panjabi.
For more information, view the 2017 Sex Ed State Legislative Year-End Report in its entirety.
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 the full spectrum of sexual and reproductive health services. SIECUS works to create a world that ensures social justice inclusive of sexual and reproductive rights.