Friday, January 29, 2010

ACLU of Wisconsin Applauds the Passage of the Healthy Youth Act

The ACLU of Wisconsin applauds the passage of the Healthy Youth Act, the legislation that will raise state standards for public school human growth and development instruction. The Healthy Youth Act will give Wisconsin teens the tools they need to make healthy and responsible life decisions by providing comprehensive sexuality education that is age appropriate and medically accurate.

“Our state legislators looked at the facts about current teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection rates in Wisconsin and took action in support of educating students,” said ACLU of Wisconsin Community Advocate Stacy Harbaugh. “Armed with the facts about reproduction and how to protect themselves from risk, the Healthy Youth Act will help young people make healthier choices."

The Healthy Youth Act will better honor equal protection, free speech and freedom of religion in our public schools. Students have the right to ask their teachers questions about reproduction and teachers should be able to answer them with age appropriate facts. Human growth and development curriculum on relationships and reproduction should recognize equality in gender and sexual orientation. Our schools should also respect religious diversity and this legislation ensures that curriculum will not promote a bias against religion. All parents will have the right to inspect teaching materials at any time and will continue to be able to take their children out of portions of the curriculum with which they disagree.

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.

The ACLU of Wisconsin has approximately 8,000 members who support its efforts to defend the civil liberties and civil rights of all Wisconsin residents. For more on the work of the ACLU of Wisconsin, visit our webpage. Find us on Facebook and Twitter at ACLUMadison and ACLUofWisconsin. Join the ACLU of Wisconsin today and help us fight for civil liberties in Wisconsin.