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Contact: Alexsis Rodgers, [email protected]

RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia League for Planned Parenthood released the following statement after a House subcommittee narrowly defeated House Bill 44 to require family life education to teach consent.

“Especially at a time when many survivors of sexual assault are feeling empowered to share their stories, I am embarrassed that politicians in Richmond defeated a bill that would require teaching Virginia students the meaning of consent,” said Paulette McElwain, CEO of Virginia League for Planned Parenthood. “By law, consent is required prior to sexual activity. Students should learn what consent means in school; it’s that simple. Virginia League for Planned Parenthood remains committed to ensuring every person has the right to responsibly manage their sexual and reproductive health.”

Melissa Meadows, Education Director at Virginia League for Planned Parenthood, continued, “I am disappointed by some House subcommittee members’ votes today, undermining Virginia law that consent is required in sexual activity. Research demonstrates that high-quality, comprehensive, medically-accurate sexual health education empowers young people to protect their health. We will continue to partner with General Assembly and school board leaders to ensure students in Virginia’s public schools learn information and behaviors that support healthy lifestyles.”

House Bill 44 was defeated on a nearly party-line vote with Republican Delegate Roxann Robinson joining Democratic Delegates Jeff Bourne, Jennifer Boysko, Chris Hurst, and Cheryl Turpin in support of the bill. Republican Delegates Glen Davis, Dave LaRock, Jay Leftwich, John McGuire, and Brenda Pogge voting against the bill. The 5-5 tie vote means the bill will not advance. 

Currently, Virginia law permits family life education to incorporate teaching consent, however, it is not required. Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn introduced House Bill 44 to require any high school sex education curricula to incorporate age-appropriate elements of effective and evidence-based programs on the law and meaning of consent.

The Virginia League for Planned Parenthood (VLPP) provides high-quality, affordable reproductive health care, education programs, and outreach to more than 31,000 people in the Commonwealth. VLPP is committed to ensuring a full range of reproductive health care and information through its education programs and the health centers it operates in Richmond, Hampton, and Virginia Beach.

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