If It Doesn’t Work, Fix it! Why We’re Lobbying About Sex Ed
One of Reason Rally 2016’s key goals is promoting enlightened, effective sex education based on evidence of what actually reduces teen pregnancy, not based solely on religious values.
It’s in society’s best interest to have sex-education programs founded on science, fact, and rational analysis. And America needs it more every day. In the two days preceding Reason Rally 2016 — June 2 and 3 — we will be lobbying all members of Congress with this message.
The current Congress has consistently reiterated its support for abstinence-only education. It not only doubled the size of the Abstinence-Only Until Marriage Grant Program (now rebranded as Sexual Risk Avoidance), but they also reauthorized the Title V Abstinence-Only Until Marriage Program for two years and increased funding by $25 million per year.
This is what the National Institutes of Health says about abstinence-only efforts: “After accounting for other factors, the national data show that the incidence of teenage pregnancies and births remain positively correlated with the degree of abstinence education across states: The more strongly abstinence is emphasized in state laws and policies, the higher the average teenage pregnancy and birth rate.” Furthermore, abstinence-only programs neglect the needs of LGBTQ students, leaving them feeling alienated and preventing them from accessing the information they need.
On the other hand, states that teach comprehensive sex education (covering other issues and approaches) tend to have the lowest teen pregnancy rates and give students information about STIs.
Our laws should be based on reason and science, and that’s why we will be focusing our advocacy efforts on promoting the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act (REHYA). The bill includes, among many other positive elements: a ban on programs that withhold information, inclusion of LGBT and heterosexual youth, and a much broader set of goals. The TPPP only aims to reduce teen pregnancy. REHYA, by contrast, also promotes healthy relationships, information for responsible decisions, and the prevention of HIV, sexual abuse and dating harassment.
It’s time to make this all happen.