WASHINGTON — Today, the Real Education and Access for Healthy Youth Act (REAHYA), a bill to provide young people access to sex education and sexual health services, was introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA-13), Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC-12), Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ). This critical legislation, introduced during Sex Ed For All Month, recognizes that sex education and services must not only be comprehensive, but also confidential, equitable, accessible, medically accurate, age and developmentally appropriate, resilience-oriented, trauma-informed, and culturally responsive.
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“We thank Reps. Lee and Adams, and Sens. Hirono and Booker for introducing REAHYA and prioritizing sex education. After decades of underfunding and political interference, now more than ever, young people need access to the knowledge and services necessary to understand their bodies, define their boundaries, protect their health, and build their own futures. Congress must swiftly pass this bill and make it clear that sex education is a fundamental part of education.”
REAHYA will ensure that young people are taught about important topics such as puberty and adolescent development, sexual and reproductive anatomy and physiology, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, contraception, pregnancy and reproduction, HIV and other STIs, consent and healthy relationships, and interpersonal violence.
The bill will also ensure that no federal funds are used for programs that:
Withhold health-promoting or life-saving information about sexuality related topics, including HIV;
Base their information on medically inaccurate or incomplete science;
Promote gender or racial stereotypes or are unresponsive to gender or racial inequities;
Fail to address the needs of sexually active young people, pregnant or parenting young people, survivors of interpersonal violence, and youth of all physical, developmental, or mental abilities;
Exclude the experiences of varying gender identities, gender expressions, and sexual orientations;
Are inconsistent with the ethical imperatives of medicine and public health.
Sex Ed For All Month is a national effort spearheaded by a coalition of sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations committed to ensuring equitable and accessible sex education for all young people. Throughout May, the coalition pledges to ensure all young people have equitable access to the sex education and sexual health care they deserve. The coalition is particularly focused on ensuring these critical resources are available to all young people, including young people of color, LGBTQ+ young people, immigrants, young people with disabilities, those in foster care, and those who have lower incomes and live in rural areas.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America is proud to serve as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. Every day, Planned Parenthood makes sexual and reproductive health information readily available online 24/7 at plannedparenthood.org in both English and Spanish. Planned Parenthood’s sex education efforts reach over 1.1 million people in person annually. Our website — accessed by nearly 200 million people each year — features pages for teens, parents, and educators to help them better access the information and resources they need, whenever they need them.
Planned Parenthood’s growing library of YouTube videos for young people model healthy communication about consent and safer sex and STIs. Our sex education chatbot, Roo, lets users anonymously ask questions about sex, bodies, identity and more, and get the answers within seconds, day or night. Planned Parenthood’s Chat/Text program allows young people to have live, private conversations with trained educators via instant message or text, helping them make decisions about their sexual health. Planned Parenthood’s free period and birth control tracker app, Spot On, helps young people learn about their bodies and reproductive health, and stay on top of their birth control method.
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.