North Carolina Law Viewed As “Model” For Other States
On February 14, Planned Parenthood supporters
marched to the State Capitol in Raleigh
in support of sex education.
Governor Bev Perdue has signed a uniquely sensible sexuality education bill enabling parents to decide the type of education their children will receive in public school. The measure, known as the Healthy Youth Act, is already being viewed as model legislation in states throughout the country.
This law requires all NC public schools to offer abstinence-based, comprehensive sex education to 7th through 9th graders. Previously, NC public schools were only required to offer abstinence only until marriage education.
Rep. Susan Fisher is all smiles
following House passage of
the Healthy Youth Act.
In addition, the entire curriculum must meet a higher standard in order to be taught. Now the information conveyed during the instruction shall be objective and based upon scientific research that is peer reviewed and accepted by professionals and credentialed experts in the field of sexual health education and the cumbersome "public hearing process" in schools would be eliminated.
North Carolina has the 9th highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation. (Of 1,000 teenage girls, 95 of them become pregnant per year). As a state that spends more than $300 million on teenage pregnancy per year, this legislation could not have come sooner.
Lobbyists Paula Wolf, Paige Johnson and Melissa Reed
review legislative strategy for the Health Youth Act.
The Healthy Youth Act is modeled on the two-tract system of education which New Hanover County already provided. The vast majority of parents in this NC county chose the comprehensive sexuality education option. The idea of a statewide two-tract system was introduced by Rep. Susan Fisher (D-Asheville).
"Ninety-percent of NC parents have said that they want NC schools to teach comprehensive sex education which includes information on STDs and contraception. The State of North Carolina has finally given parents that option," said Melissa Reed in response to the bill's passage.
Planned Parenthood lobbied legislators, mobilized supporters and organized events to gain passage of the bill. We commend the North Carolina legislature and Governor Perdue for putting students' health above partisan politics by enacting this landmark legislation.