Press ReleaseSexual & Reproductive Health, Rights, & Justice Organizations Applaud Introduction of Legislation to Improve the Health & Well-Being of Young People
All young people deserve access to high-quality sex education and sexual health care
May 18, 2021
For Immediate Release
Washington, D.C — Today, champions in Congress are introducing the Real Education and Access to Healthy Youth Act of 2021 (REAHYA). The bill, which is led by Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Alma Adams (D-NC) in the U.S. House and Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) in the U.S. Senate, would make essential investments in inclusive and honest sex education programs.
In addition, for young people facing the greatest barriers to sexual health services, the bill would provide funding to help these young people have access to quality and culturally responsive care. Together, these measures will help empower young people to make their own decisions about their bodies and lives.
“Healthy Teen Network thanks Reps. Lee and Adams and Sens. Hirono and Booker for introducing the Real Education and Access for Healthy Youth Act. This bill is a critical first step to ensuring that all young people have the access to high-quality sex education they need and deserve to lead healthy, fulfilling lives,” explained Janet Max, Healthy Teen Network Interim President and CEO.
The introduction of this legislation coincides with Sex Ed For All Month, a national effort led by a coalition of sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice organizations committed to ensuring equitable and accessible sex education for all young people. Throughout May, the coalition pledges to ensure all young people have equitable access to the sex education and sexual health care they deserve. The coalition is particularly focused on ensuring these critical resources are available to all young people, including youth of color, LGBTQ+ youth, immigrant youth, young people with disabilities, systems-impacted youth, youth in foster care, youth who have lower incomes and young people who live in rural areas.
“This bill is a critical first step to ensuring that all young people have the access to high-quality sex education they need and deserve to lead healthy, fulfilling lives.”
— Janet Max
Currently, there is a gap between the access to sex education and sexual health services that young people should be receiving and what they actually receive in the classroom and in their communities. Only 18 states require sex education to be medically accurate, and 35 states require schools to stress abstinence when sex education or HIV/STI instruction is provided.
Get involved this month by telling us why you believe in Sex Ed For All by following and using the hashtag #SexEdForAll on social media. And for professionals wanting to join the celebration, get the Tool Kit with prepared content for sharing—graphics, social media posts, and more.
The legislation introduced today complements the work underway for #SexEdForAll Month by supporting medically accurate and culturally responsive sex education and sexual health care, and it will also help to provide the agency and support young people need to achieve positive outcomes for themselves.
Healthy Teen Network joins the members of the Sex Ed For All Month coalition to urge Congress to pass this legislation, so that all young people—no matter who they are and where they live—receive the information and care they need to achieve their goals and live their lives on their terms.
Healthy Teen Network promotes better outcomes for adolescents and young adults by advancing social change, cultivating innovation, and strengthening youth-supporting professionals and organizations. Healthy Teen Network is a membership organization nationally recognized for its quality training and technical assistance, integration of evidence-informed and best practices with innovative strategies, and translation of complex research to accessible resources and tools to support professionals.
Follow @HealthyTeen on Twitter.
Contact: Gina Desiderio, Director of Communications