Congress reintroduced a bill Thursday that would provide
grants for comprehensive and age-appropriate sex education.
Currently the federal government is slated to spend
more than $1 billion in abstinence-only sex education
through 2008, which neglects to educate about
homosexuality, same-sex marriage, or birth control.
Meanwhile, federal funding is denied to institutions
that provide comprehensive sex education.
Education About Life (REAL) Act is sponsored by Rep.
Barbara Lee of California, Rep. Christopher Shays of
Connecticut, and Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey
and would grant $206 million per year to states for
comprehensive sex education.
A press release
issued by the legislators cites that of the 19 million
cases of sexually transmitted diseases annually in the
United States, almost half of them strike people ages
15 to 24.
to get REAL about sex education," Lee said in the
press release. "We should absolutely be
teaching young people about abstinence, but we
shouldn't be holding back information that can save lives
and prevent unwanted pregnancies. Instead of
'abstinence only,' what we're proposing
is 'abstinence-plus.' "
up isn't easy, and our kids find themselves in tough
situations every day," Lauenberg said in the
press release. "They need all the information
to make smart choices, and 'abstinence-only' programs
are not enough. It's time to bring sex
education up to date to reflect the real-life
situations facing young Americans."
Campaign, as well as the Sexuality Information
and Education Council of the U.S.; AIDS Alliance for
Children, Youth & Families; and the National
Education Association, have come out in support of the
bill since the first time it was introduced in 2005.
nation's youth deserve the facts about how to protect
themselves from sexually transmitted infections,
including HIV," HRC president Joe Solmonese
said in a press release. "The federal government has
tied states' hands when it comes to providing
prevention education to teens. It's time to
ensure that states can provide comprehensive sex education
that gives students the tools they need to make responsible
decisions." (The Advocate)