Sex Ed Bill Protects Public Health, Puts Parents and Teens First
WASHINGTON, DC — Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) today applauded Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), and Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT) for supporting parents and protecting the health of teenagers with the introduction of the “Responsible Education About Life” (REAL) Act. The REAL Act would require that medically accurate, comprehensive sex education programs receive the same level of funding that dangerous abstinence-only programs receive from the Bush administration.
“The REAL Act is great news for parents and teens and should be passed immediately," said PPFA President Cecile Richards. "Approximately 750,000 U.S. teens will become pregnant this year, and nearly four million of them will contract a sexually transmitted infection — in part because they don't have access to the information they need to make responsible decisions about their health. We applaud Sen. Lautenberg, Rep. Lee, and Rep. Shays for recognizing the vital need for medically accurate, comprehensive sex education in our schools.”
The bipartisan REAL Act would create a grant program administered by the Department of Health and Human Services that would fund comprehensive sex education programs in schools nationwide. Currently, no federal program is dedicated to supporting comprehensive sex education, despite the proven effectiveness of such programs. It is estimated that only 10 percent of all American school districts have a sexuality education policy that is comprehensive and includes information about contraception and safer sex in addition to abstinence.
President Bush recently requested a $28 million increase in the FY’08 budget for abstinence-only programs, which have been widely criticized for denying teens life-saving information about how to protect themselves from unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Since 1996, Congress has committed more than $1 billion for federal and state abstinence-only programs.
“It's time to focus on real solutions for parents and teenagers. The REAL Act represents a significant step toward reducing the numbers of unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections among young people. We urge Congress to put public health first and pass this bill,” added Richards.
Every year, Planned Parenthood provides sexual and reproductive health services, education, and information to nearly five million women, men and teens. Peer-educator training programs sponsored by Planned Parenthood affiliates teach young people how to prevent pregnancy, HIV, and other sexually transmitted infections, and how to talk with other young people about protecting themselves.
For more information on the REAL Act or on Planned Parenthood’s resources for teens and parents, please visit www.plannedparenthood.org.
May 13, 2014