New Report Highlights Why States Need Better Sex Ed as Trump Administration Limits Sexual and Reproductive Rights

For Immediate Release
November 1, 2017

 

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

 

New Report Highlights Why States Need Better Sex Ed as Trump Administration Limits Sexual and Reproductive Rights

(Washington, DC) – SIECUS released its 15th edition of the annual SIECUS State Profiles, a comprehensive report comprising individual state profiles on sexuality education policy, data, and funding for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, associated states and the outer United States territories during federal Fiscal Year 2017.

As news reports continue to reveal this Administration’s tireless efforts to crumble support for adolescent sexual health promotion programs and services—such as the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program—to make room for harmful, ineffective initiatives like abstinence-only programs and the “rhythm method” (a type of birth control that fails one in four couples), it is no surprise to see these efforts reflected in policies regarding sexuality education across the nation.

While this year’s SIECUS State Profiles report highlights progress made by advocates and educators toward improving sexuality education across the country, it also identifies the continued prominence of abstinence-only-until-marriage (AOUM) programs and increased funding for these program across the United States.

AOUM programs—recently rebranded as “Sexual Risk Avoidance Education”—limit instruction to focus solely on abstinence and purposefully deprive students of the information and education they need to lead healthy lives. These programs disproportionately impact the most vulnerable populations including: young people of color and young LGBTQ individuals.

Low lights from this year’s report include:

  • Years of dedicated federal funding for comprehensive sexuality education: 0
  • Years of continued dedicated federal funding for abstinence-only programs: 35
  • $2.05 billion in federal funds spent since 1982 on abstinence-only programs that intentionally withhold life-affirming and lifesaving information.
  • $90 million awarded for abstinence-only programs in FY17 alone
  • Title V funding for FY 17 was $75 million
  • Only 29 states and the District of Columbia mandate sex education
  • Only 1 state requires student instruction on consent, or the affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity.
  • Only 4 states require health education instruction to affirmatively recognize different sexual orientations and gender identities or expressions (SOGIE) or affirm the dignity and worth of all people, regardless of SOGIE.
  • 7 states explicitly require teachers to portray LGBTQ people negatively in health education instruction or prohibit teachers from mentioning LGBTQ people at all.
  • 31 states require schools to stress abstinence if sex or HIV/STI education is provided.

This Administration has attacked the constitutional right to abortion, access to birth control, the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, and more to show its unbending desire to rollback any gains made for sexual and reproductive health and rights in this country.

Sexuality education for young people has been, and continues to be, targeted too. This report can be used as a tool by educators, parents, students, and policymakers to understand the landscape of sexuality education in their communities and therefore, advocate for students’ rights to the sexuality education they deserve.

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The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS) has served as the national voice for sexuality education, sexual health, and sexual rights for over 50 years. SIECUS affirms that sexuality is a fundamental part of being human, one that is worthy of dignity and respect. We advocate for the right of all people to accurate information, comprehensive education about sexuality, 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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