SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH, RIGHTS AND JUSTICE ORGANIZATIONS APPLAUD INTRODUCTION OF LEGISLATION TO IMPROVE THE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING OF YOUNG PEOPLE
(Washington, D.C.) — Today, champions in Congress are introducing the Real Education and Access to Healthy Youth Act of 2021 (REAHYA). The bill, which is led by Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Alma Adams (D-NC) in the U.S. House and Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) in the U.S. Senate, would make essential investments in inclusive and honest sex education programs.
In addition, for young people facing the greatest barriers to sexual health services, the bill would provide funding to help these young people have access to quality and culturally responsive care. Together, these measures will help empower young people to make their own decisions about their bodies and lives.
“All young people – no matter who they are or where they live – deserve high-quality, medically-accurate and inclusive sex education. This bill is a step in the right direction and builds on existing evidence-based sex education funded at the federal level with an approach that meets the needs of all young people and focuses on those young people facing the greatest barriers to the information and access they need,” said Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley, CEO, Power to Decide. “High-quality sex education can have an immense impact on a young person’s life, and we must continue to break down the barriers for young people to access this information.”
The introduction of this legislation coincides with Sex Ed For All Month, a national effort led 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 youth of color, LGBTQ+ youth, immigrant youth, young people with disabilities, systems-impacted youth, youth in foster care, youth who have lower incomes and young people who live in rural areas.
Currently, there is a gap between the access to sex education and sexual health services that young people should be receiving and what they are actually receive in the classroom and in their communities. Only 18 states require sex education to be medically accurate, and 35 states require schools to stress abstinence when sex education or HIV/STI instruction is provided.
The legislation introduced today complements the work underway for #SexEdForAll Month by supporting medically accurate and culturally responsive sex education and sexual health care, and it will also help to provide the agency and support young people need to achieve positive outcomes for themselves.
Power to Decide joins the members of the Sex Ed For All Month coalition to urge Congress to pass this legislation, so that all young people—no matter who they are and where they live—receive the information and care they need to achieve their goals and live their lives on their terms.
Power to Decide is a private, non-partisan, non-profit organization that works to ensure all people—no matter who they are, where they live, or what their economic status might be—have the power to decide if, when, and under what circumstances to get pregnant and have a child. Please visit us at www.PowerToDecide.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.