Advocates For Youth Applauds Washington State Legislature For Passing Honest Sex Education Policy

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Sex Education

The Washington State House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 5297 by a vote of 63-34, paving the way for comprehensive sex education -- education that includes scientifically accurate information on abstinence and the health benefits of birth control and condoms -- to be taught in the state's schools.

The measure was passed by the State Senate on a 30-19 vote in early March.

"Young people need reliable health information so that they can make responsible choices, protect their health and avoid unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV," said James Wagoner, President of Advocates for Youth. "Yesterday's vote in the state legislature recognizes that need. And we hope that Governor Gregoire will sign this bill into law."

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Research shows that teenagers who receive comprehensive sex education that includes discussion on abstinence and contraception are more likely than those who receive abstinence-only messages to delay sexual initiation, to use contraception when they do become sexually active and to have fewer partners. Research also shows that teaching young people about birth control does not increase sexual activity.

"Washington joins a growing number of states that are rejecting the ineffective abstinence-only-until-marriage policy that has been imposed by the federal government over the last 10 years," added Wagoner. "Some states, like Washington, are passing honest sex education laws, while others are rejecting the federal funding for these programs."

To date, eight states, including California (which never accepted the funding), Connecticut, Maine, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island and Wisconsin have rejected the Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage funding.

Advocates for Youth is a national, nonprofit organization that creates programs and supports policies that help young people make safe, responsible decisions about their sexual and reproductive health.

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