Sexuality Education

Trump administration’s new rule scraps anti-discrimination protections required for HHS funding

For Immediate Release
November 4, 2019

Contact: Zach Eisenstein
Phone: (202) 265-2405 ext 3330

(Washington, DC) –

(Washington, DC) – On November 1st, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it will abandon current regulations that prohibit discrimination based on religion, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in HHS-funded programs. The proposed rule effectively greenlights broad discrimination, and, specifically, eliminates the requirement that HHS grant recipients recognize same-sex marriage as valid. Samantha Cyrulnik-Dercher, SIECUS’ Federal Policy Director, released the following statement in response:

“This rule would be catastrophic for millions of people. It allows for government-funded entities to engage in outright discrimination, jeopardizing access to $527.3 billion worth of services. Federal programs for sex education, STI and HIV testing and prevention, adoption and foster care, reproductive health care, youth homelessness support, housing services, and many more stand to be impacted by this decision. Under this rule, an HHS-funded shelter could decide to refuse admission to an LGBTQ young person experiencing homelessness. A federal community meal program could refuse to deliver food to religious minorities. A taxpayer-funded child care facility could turn away children with married same-sex parents. These regulations are particularly harmful for marginalized young people, who may rely on these programs to survive. LGBTQ youth, for example, experience disproportionate rates of homelessness and substance use compared to their heterosexual and cisgender peers. 

We need to stop this administration from encouraging widespread discrimination. SIECUS is an organization that works to provide young people with information, education, and related services that respond to and affirm their identities–across all of their intersections. This proposed rule blatantly flies in the face of what we stand for.

We are working to oppose this cruel and unlawful regulation, and will be soliciting comments opposing the rule in the coming weeks. And we urge Congress to take immediate action to ensure that all young people have access to the services they need — without fear of discrimination.”


SIECUS has served as the national voice for sex education for 55 years, asserting that sexuality is a fundamental part of being human, one worthy of dignity and respect. Through policy, advocacy, education, and strategic communications efforts, SIECUS advances sex education as a vehicle for social change—working toward a world where all people can access and enjoy sexual and reproductive freedom as they define it for themselves.