Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains is pleased to see the Comprehensive Human Sexuality K-12 Education Act (HB-1081) advance out of the House today.
DENVER – Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains is pleased to see the Comprehensive Human Sexuality K-12 Education Act (HB-1081) advance out of the House today.
HB 1081 will strengthen existing state guidelines by developing definitions and content standards for comprehensive sex education to ensure our state’s youth have access to sex education that is truly comprehensive—meaning abstinence in addition to pregnancy and disease prevention are included as basic curriculum components. It also seeks to establish a grant program for districts to seek funds for implementing comprehensive sex education.
“HB 1081 is a commonsense approach in addressing teen pregnancy and reducing the rates of sexually transmitted diseases among our state’s youth,” said Marie Logsden, Vice President of PPRM’s Responsible Sex Education Institute. “Abstinence is a huge focus of comprehensive sex education. Yet we know that 61 percent of Colorado high school students report having had sex by 12th grade. We must ensure that our future leaders have the knowledge and skills to make the best decisions for themselves in any situation.
“Burying our heads in the sand and denying teens the information and skills they need to make positive decisions throughout their lives is not a solution. We educate our youth in subjects such as math and English so that they are armed with a basic skill set in order to succeed in life. The same should be true for sex education.”
In 2007, the state sexuality education law (HB07-1292) was adopted. HB1292 set minimum guidelines for curriculum on human sexuality for those institutions already offering sexuality education. In 2010, the State Board of Education updated its guidelines on sexual health, encouraging all schools to adopt comprehensive sexual health programming. HB-1081 addresses the weak point or “gap” in today’s existing structure where not all schools are teaching comprehensive sex education due to the lack of clarity of what constitutes comprehensive sex education. HB-1081 will strengthen existing state standards by defining core components and content standards of comprehensive sex education. It would also: offer parents and guardians the opportunity to be informed about, and opt out of, sexuality education programs, create the comprehensive human sexuality education grant program, and establish the Comprehensive Human Sexuality Education Cash Fund.
According to the CDC, sexuality education programs that are evidence-based, medically accurate, age-appropriate, culturally sensitive, and comprehensive have been proven to help youth delay the onset of sexual activity, decrease the frequency of sexual activity, reduce the number of sexual partners, and increase condom and contraceptive use.
- According to results from Colorado’s 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), 41% of Colorado high school students report ever having had sex.
- Among 12th graders, 61% of students indicated they have had sex.
- On average, 15 babies are born to teens in Colorado every day.
- Between 2006 and 2010, of all the new Colorado cases of HIV reported 15% of these diagnoses were made among youth ages 13-25.
- According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, chlamydia remains the most commonly reported sexually transmitted infection in Colorado. In 2010, 15-19 year olds accounted for nearly a third (31%) of new cases of chlamydia.
- According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the chlamydia rate for Colorado youth aged 15-19 was 1891.5 and the gonorrhea rate was 159.8 per 100,000 youth aged 15-19 in 2011.
- According to Sonfield et al., in Colorado in 2006, the federal and state governments spent $161 million on births resulting from unintended pregnancies; of this, $80 million (50%) was paid by the federal government and $80 million (50%) was paid by the state.
February 19, 2013