California students will now have access to expanded sexual health education thanks to a new state law supported by Planned Parenthood. This is just one of the 21 Planned Parenthood supported bills that were signed into law this legislative session. These bills increase access to vital health care and education for women and families.
The California Healthy Youth Act updates and expands existing requirements for HIV/AIDS prevention education in public schools to ensure students receive comprehensive, medically accurate, age-appropriate and LGBTQI-inclusive sexual health education.
It requires school districts to provide all students grades 7 to 12 with sexual health education at least once in middle school and once in high school. It also incorporates key topics currently missing from California’s Education Code including STI and unintended pregnancy prevention, sexual harassment, human trafficking and adolescent relationship abuse. These additions will reinforce a focus on healthy attitudes, behaviors and relationships among youth.
Planned Parenthood and our supporters worked hard alongside many partner organizations across the state to get this bill signed into law. It was sponsored by one of our extraordinary allies in the state assembly, Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, who represents southeastern San Diego County’s 79th assembly district.
Governor Jerry Brown also signed several different bills into law. These bills will make it easier for health care providers to use telehealth in the treatment of patients (especially in underserved and rural areas of the state), expand health care access to low-income youth regardless of immigration status, and help reduce the lingering wage gap between men and women.
This key progressive legislation was made a reality thanks to the hard work of people like you, our community partners, supporters and volunteers who know how important affordable, accessible sexual and reproductive health care and education are to our community.
Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest sent out more than 400 letters from San Diego, Riverside and Imperial counties to our legislative representatives in Sacramento to show support for the sexual health education law. Two of our exemplary volunteer teen leaders also participated on the statewide Healthy Youth Act Action Call to show support for their peers and discuss the importance of sex education in their own words, with other students and organizations across California.
We are grateful to our local, state and federal legislators who stand by women, men and families and advance access to dignified, high-quality health care. As we celebrate these legislative milestones, we are reminded that the real winners are the patients that trust Planned Parenthood, and we look forward to continuing to advocate for policies that support and uplift women, men and families in our communities.