Together, We Can Ensure Equity and Access for All
New York, NY — May is Sex Ed for All Month, the third annual national effort led by a coalition of sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations committed to ensuring young people have equitable and accessible sex education. Consistent with this year’s theme, "Equity and Access for All," the coalition aims to raise awareness of the critical need for national sex education.
This month, the coalition will continue its pledge: Promote the equitable access to the sex education and sexual health care young people deserve; and ensure these critical resources are available to all youths — including young people of color; LGBTQ+ youth; immigrant youth; young people with disabilities; youth in the juvenile justice and foster care systems; as well as those who have lower incomes and live in rural areas.
Sex Ed for All Month kicks off with a virtual Youth Town Hall, featuring opening remarks by Rep. Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) Tuesday, May 4, 2021 at 3:30 p.m. EST. You can register for the Youth Town Hall HERE.
Statement from Dr. Sara C. Flowers, vice president of education and training at Planned Parenthood Federation of America
For Sex Ed for All Month this year, there’s a renewed urgency to ensure that all young people have equitable access to sex education. Young people deserve education and resources that recognize all of who they are and everything that they can be. Yet all too often, access to sex education depends on who you are and where you live. Together, by investing in sex education that reflects the fullness of young people's identities, experiences, and needs, we can ensure they have the information and skills they need to make the best decisions for themselves.
Polling shows strong support for sex education among parents, educators, young people, and the general public. Yet only 17 states require medically accurate sex education, and 35 states require sex education to stress abstinence. The U.S. does not have a national sex education mandate and sex education is not funded at the federal level, leading to inconsistent funding and uneven program quality across the country. This leaves many young people lacking the knowledge and skills they need to make informed decisions about their sexual health.
Sex Ed For All Month 2021 is being coordinated by the Sex Education Collaborative — which represents 24 national, regional, and state-based organizations with extensive experience training educators to deliver school-based sex education — in conjunction with the federal Sex Education Coalition and other national partners. Organizing partners include Advocates for Youth, Answer, Healthy Teen Network, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Power to Decide, SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change, State Innovation Exchange, and URGE, among others.
Young people want greater access to sex education and sexual health services, as they face vast systemic inequalities and structural barriers to education and care. Decades of research has found that sex education not only helps prevent unintended pregnancy and STIs. Sex education can also help prevent child sex abuse, create safer school spaces for LGBTQ+ young people, increase healthy relationships, reduce relationship violence, improve social-emotional learning, and increase media literacy. Research also has shown that sex education can have a profound effect on school climate — with the use of intersectional approaches that affirm race, gender, and other aspects of identity. High-quality sex education can contribute to dismantling barriers to social and racial justice by promoting equity and inclusion in classrooms and school environments.
Throughout the month, join us in celebrating Sex Ed For All by calling on public officials to invest in high-quality sex education that meets the full needs of young people. Support sex education programs that promote critical thinking, communication, decision-making skills, consent, self-esteem, and self-efficacy — providing young people with the full information they need and have the right to receive. Get involved this month by telling us why you believe in Sex Ed For All; follow and use the hashtag #SexEdForAll on social media.
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Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable sexual and reproductive health care for all people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect, and without judgment, striving to create equitable access to health care. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable education and information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives. Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that supports the independently incorporated Planned Parenthood affiliates operating health centers across the U.S.