Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Healthy Youth Act Would Raise the Standard for Real Sex Ed in Wisconsin

The ACLU of WI Supports the Healthy Youth Act to Ensure Comprehensive Sex Education in Wisconsin Schools

The ACLU of Wisconsin was present for the Tuesday, September 29 press conference for the introduction of the Healthy Youth Act in the Wisconsin State Legislature. The Healthy Youth Act would raise state standards for public school human growth and development instruction. This improvement would give Wisconsin teens the tools they need to make healthy and responsible life decisions by setting a standard of comprehensive sexuality education.

Evidence shows that stressing the importance of waiting to have sex while providing accurate, age-appropriate, and complete information about using contraceptives can help teens delay sex and reduce sexual risk taking. This approach is effective and is associated with lower teen pregnancy rates. Comprehensive sexuality education is needed from both a public health perspective and to save taxpayer money in a time when economic challenges strain our social safety net.

“From a Constitutional perspective, the Healthy Youth Act would honor equal protection, free speech and freedom of religion,” said ACLU of Wisconsin Community Advocate Stacy Harbaugh. “Our public schools should have a human growth and instruction curriculum on relationships and reproduction that recognizes equality in gender and sexual orientation. Our schools should also respect diversity in religion by notifying all parents about what is being taught in school and allowing them to opt out without repercussions for their children. Ultimately, our schools should teach the facts about reproduction, not promote religion or discrimination.”

Comprehensive sexuality education enjoys a broad base of support including major medical organizations such as the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Society of Adolescent Medicine, the American Nurses Association, the American Public Health Association, and the Institute of Medicine. Comprehensive sex education is also supported by major educational organizations including the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and the National School Boards Association. More than 85 percent of Americans support school-based sexuality education programs that teach students how to use and where to get contraceptives.

Stay tuned to the Cap City Liberty blog or follow the ACLUMadison on Twitter to get more information and updates on real sex ed for Wisconsin.