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Despite Trump administration’s abstinence-only push, many state legislators want quality sex education, report shows

For Immediate Release
June 21, 2018

 

Contact: Zach Eisenstein
Phone: (202) 265-2405 ext. 3330
Email:  zeisenstein@siecus.org

 

Despite Trump administration’s abstinence-only push, many state legislators want quality sex education, report shows

(Washington, DC) – Today, SIECUS released its 2018 Sex Ed State Legislative Mid-Year Report. The publication recaps state-level sex education legislation introduced this legislative session through May 31, 2018 and identifies notable trends and activities.

“It’s encouraging to see such a large number of bills related to sex education being introduced in states across the country. However, while plenty of legislation is being proposed, the number of bills that are actually enacted into law is another story,” said Chitra Panjabi, SIECUS President & CEO.

As of May 31, legislative sessions in 37 of 50 states and the District of Columbia had adjourned for the year. At this mid-point of 2018, SIECUS identified the following highlights:

  • 139 bills were introduced (or carried over from the prior session) related to sex education instruction in schools.
  • 12 bills were enacted in 10 states:
    • 7 new laws advance sex education
    • 1 new law restricts sex education
    • 2 new laws have a mixed impact on sex education
    • 2 new laws are neutral
  • 109 bills introduced (78.4%) sought to advance the quality of sex education.
  • Of the 139 bills considered thus far, only 9 sought to restrict the quality of instruction and undermine the rights of young people. Just 1 of these bills passed.
  • 15 bills would have a neutral impact on the quality of sex education.
  • 6 bills would have a mixed impact on the quality of sex education, with portions of the proposed legislation advancing and restricting sex education.

Among the bills introduced, positive trends included: the inclusion of instruction on preventing child sexual abuse, sexual assault, and dating violence as well as the quality assurance of medical accuracy and age-appropriateness of sex education curricula.

While less prevalent, the report identified a few negative trends including: abstinence-only instruction, opt-in sex ed policy requirements, and restrictions on covering the topic of abortion within sex education curricula.

“While SIECUS celebrates the victories related to advancing sex education presented through many of these state-level bills, we cannot overlook the dangerous push for abstinence-only-until-marriage (AOUM) programs happening at the federal level of our government,” said Panjabi.

“We will continue to closely monitor and assess sex education policies at federal, state, and local levels—working toward the day when sex education in this country works for every young person, everywhere.” 

For more information, view the full Mid-Year report

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The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS) has served as the national voice for sex education, sexual health, and sexual rights for over 50 years. SIECUS asserts that sexuality is a fundamental part of being human, one worthy of dignity and respect. We advocate for the rights of all people to accurate information, comprehensive sexuality education, and the full spectrum of sexual and reproductive health services. SIECUS works to create a world that ensures social justice inclusive of sexual and reproductive rights.

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