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REHYA 2016

The Real Education for Healthy Youth Act

Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) have introduced the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act (REHYA), legislation that supports the health and well-being of young people by providing the comprehensive sexuality education they need to make informed, responsible, and healthy decisions throughout their lives.

Young People Need and Have the Right to Quality Sexuality Education

The current federal investment in adolescent sexual health promotion programs is an important step in the right direction, but much remains to be done to strengthen, enhance, and expand these efforts.

The availability and quality of sexual health information and sexuality education varies drastically across the country. Less than half of all high schools and only 20% of middle schools in the U.S. provide all 16 of the CDC-identified topics critical to ensuring sexual health. (CDC) In addition, many young people face systemic barriers to accessing health information and services, resulting in persistent inequity and disparities. (CDC)

The data on disparities and disproportionate burden on young people continue to highlight the need for additional resources to serve young people most in need of sexual health education.

  • HIV infection rates are increasing among young people, particularly among young men who have sex with men (CDC) – young people under the age of 25 account for 1 in 5 new HIV infections. (CDC)
  • Half of the nearly 20 million estimated new STIs each year in the U.S. occur among people ages 15–24. (CDC)
  • Despite historically low unintended teen pregnancy and birth rates in the U.S., the country continues to have the highest rate of teen births among comparable countries. (UNICEF)
  • A devastating 10% of high school students report experiencing partner violence and/or sexual violence. (CDC)

Over 30 years of research demonstrates that providing young people with science-based information and skills promotes their sexual health.

Researchers have shown that sexual health education can help young people delay sexual initiation while also assisting them to use protection when they do become sexually active. (Guide to Community Preventive Services)

Additionally, teens who receive sexual health education are more likely than those who receive abstinence-only programs to delay sexual activity and use contraception when they do become sexually active. (Guttmacher Institute)

Medical and public health organizations, as well as an overwhelming majority of Americans, including young people and parents—regardless of party affiliation—support sexuality education. (FoSE; HuffPo/YouGov; Public Religion Research Institute)

REHYA Expands Quality Sexuality Education Across the Nation

  • Criteria by which sexuality education programs must adhere to receive federal funding and restricting funds for programs that fail to meet a minimum standard;
  • Grants for comprehensive sexuality education for young people;
  • Grants for comprehensive sexuality education in institutions of higher education;
  • Grants for professional development and teacher training for K–12 sexuality educators;
  • Amends the Public Health Service Act and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to allow education that is non-shaming of LGBTQ students and inclusive of contraceptive distribution in schools; and
  • Eliminates and reprograms the Social Security Act Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage state grant program to fund the new grant programs (Senate version only).

REHYA is Supported by 51 National Organizations

30 for 30 Campaign • Advocates for Youth • AIDS Alliance for Women, Infants, Children, Youth & Families • AIDS Healthcare Foundation • The AIDS Institute • AIDS United • American Association of University Women (AAUW) • American Atheists, Inc. • American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists • American Humanist Association • American Psychological Association • BiNet USA • Camp Quest • Center for Inquiry • Centerlink: The Community of LGBT Centers • Freedom From Religion Foundation • Catholics for Choice • Girls Inc. • GLSEN • Guttmacher Institute • Healthy Teen Network • Human Rights Campaign • In Our Own Voice: National Black Women's Reproductive Justice Agenda • Lambda Legal • Marriage Equality USA • National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors • National Association of County and City Health Officials • National Black Gay Men’s Advocacy Coalition • National Black Justice Coalition • National Center for Lesbian Rights • National Center for Transgender Equality • National Coalition for LGBT Health • National Council of Jewish Women • National Health Law Program • National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health • National Minority AIDS Council • National Network of Abortion Funds • National Partnership for Women & Families • National Women’s Law Center • Physicians for Reproductive Health • Planned Parenthood Federation of America • Positive Women's Network–USA • Reason Rally Coalition, Inc. • Secular Coalition for America • Secular Student Alliance • Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS) • Society for Humanistic Judaism • Union for Reform Judaism • Unitarian Universalist Humanist Association • URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity • Young Black Gay Leadership Initiative

April 2016

National Coalition to Support Sexuality Education National Coalition to Support Sexuality Education