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Updated PlannedParenthood.org/Parents Offers Parents Resources and Tools

New York, NY — October is Let’s Talk Month, aimed at encouraging families to talk about sex and relationships. Planned Parenthood Federation of America encourages parents to speak honestly and often with their children about sex and relationships, and to get involved with their children’s schools to ensure they’re receiving quality sex education.

“Planned Parenthood believes that parents are the primary sex educators of their own children, and we encourage parents to speak honestly and often with their teens about sex and relationships,” said Dr. Leslie Kantor, vice president of education at Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

To help parents have these conversations, Planned Parenthood has launched the new PlannedParenthood.org/Parents, where parents can find guidance on how to talk with their children of any age about a variety of topics. Whether you have a child in preschool, high school, or anywhere in between, you can get support on how to talk about topics like personal safety, healthy friendships and relationships, bodies and body image, gender identity and sexual orientation, sexual health, and more.

“It’s also important for parents to know what, if any, sex education their children are getting in school. Many parents may assume that their children’s school is providing quality sex education, but too often that isn’t true,” Dr. Kantor said. “Decisions about sex education are largely made at the local level, so parents really can have a big impact by getting involved in their community. ”

Parents can start by asking their own children what, sex education they’ve gotten in school, if at all; questions can include whether it’s helpful, if they feel included, and what they wish the school would teach that they’re not. Parents can also find out who is making decisions about sex education at their local school by contacting the teacher, health coordinator, or chair of the health advisory committee or school board to find out from local decision-makers how sex education is taught in their school, and how these decisions are made.

“Every young person deserves quality sex education that helps them stay safe and healthy and reach their life goals,” said Dr. Kantor. “However, too many young people still aren’t getting any sex education at all, or they’re getting abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, which ample evidence shows are ineffective. We need to do better — starting with advocating for good sex education policies and funding.”

Sex education also has a proven track record of helping young people learn the information and skills they need to make healthy decisions. The vast majority of parents want schools to play a significant role in educating young people about sex and relationships. In fact, over 90 percent of parents support sex education in both middle and high school. And the vast majority of parents — including Democrats and Republicans — want this education to include topics like birth control, healthy relationships, abstinence, and sexual orientation.

Despite bipartisan agreement about the importance of quality sex education in schools, there remains a need to advocate for sex education funding, policies, and laws that support the full range of sex education topics that young people need in order to stay healthy and meet their life goals. Parents can contact their representatives and senators, and tell them to support the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP) and the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), and to put an end to abstinence-only-until-marriage programs (sometimes reframed as ‘sexual risk avoidance’ programs). Parents and anyone else concerned about providing evidence-based sex education can also show their support and get updates on how to get involved by signing this petition.

“Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest provider of sex education; we teach in schools and communities around the country, and we offer online resources, guidance, and encouragement to parents who are unsure about how to talk about relationships and sex,” Dr. Kantor added. “We’re here to help you communicate your values and prepare your children to stay safe and healthy when it comes to sex and relationships — no matter where you live.”

PlannedParenthood.org is always here for both parents and young people looking for accurate health information, and Planned Parenthood health center doors are open to everyone.

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Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood affiliates serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.