Real Education for Healthy Youth Act of 2019

What is H.R. 2720, the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act of 2019?

Introduced by Representative Lee in May of 2019, H.R. 2720 will work to provide for the overall health and well-being of young people, including the promotion of lifelong sexual health and healthy relationships. This education can prevent the spread of STIs, decrease unintended pregnancy rates, and combat domestic violence. 

Why do we need the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act of 2019?

This legislation will create sexual health educational programs that:

  • promote and uphold the rights of young people to information in order to make healthy decisions about their sexual health

  • provide the information and skills all young people need to make informed, responsible, and healthy decisions in order to become sexually healthy adults and have healthy relationships

  • provide information about the prevention of unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, dating violence, sexual assault, bullying, and harassment; 

  • provide resources and information on topics ranging from gender stereotyping and gender roles and stigma and socio-cultural influences surrounding sex and sexuality.

This legislation will not allow Congress to fund sexual health education programs that:

  • withhold health-promoting or life-saving information about sexuality-related topics, including HIV

  • are medically inaccurate or have been scientifically shown to be ineffective

  • promote gender or racial stereotypes or are insensitive and unresponsive to the needs of sexually active young people, survivors of sexual violence, youth of all physical, developmental, and mental abilities, youth with varying gender identities, or gender expressions, and sexual orientations

  • are inconsistent with the ethical imperatives of medicine and public health.

This piece of legislation award grants to institutions of secondary and higher education, a tribe or tribal organization, a State or local department of health, a State or local department of education, an educational service agency, a nonprofit institution of higher education, a national or statewide nonprofit organization that has as its primary purpose the improvement of provision of comprehensive sex education through training and effective teaching of comprehensive sex education, or a consortium of nonprofit organizations that has as its primary purpose the improvement of provision of comprehensive sex education through training and effective teaching of comprehensive sex education.


These statistics exemplify the need for sexual education:

  • Each year in the United States, about 750,000 teens become pregnant, with up to 82 percent of those pregnancies being unintended.

  • Young people ages 15-24 account for 25 percent of all new HIV infections in the U.S. and make up almost one-half of the over 19 million new STD infections Americans acquire each year.

  • One in 10 high school students has experienced physical violence from a dating partner in the past year.

  • Eight percent of high school students have been forced to have intercourse while one in ten students say they have committed sexual violence. 

  • Among LGBT students, 82 percent have experienced harassment due to the sexual orientation, and 38 percent have experienced physical harassment.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that students who do not engage in health risk behaviors receive higher grades than students who do engage in health risk behaviors. Health-related problems and unintended pregnancy can both contribute to absenteeism and dropout.  

 

These statistics exemplify the the effectiveness of sexual health education:

  • A 2012 study that examined 66 comprehensive sexual risk reduction programs found them to be an effective public health strategy to reduce adolescent pregnancy, HIV, and STIs.

  • Research from the National Survey of Family Growth assessed the impact of sexuality education on youth sexual risk-taking for young people ages 15-19 and found that teens who received comprehensive sex education were 50 percent less likely to experience pregnancy than those who received abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.

  • Even accounting for differences in household income and education, states which teach sex education and/or HIV education that covers abstinence as well as contraception, tend to have the lowest pregnancy rates.

View our issue one-pager here!

What can I do to take action to get this passed?

Call Your Senators and Urge Them to support H.R. 2720. We need to garner more support in the House so that we can pass this. Use your power as a constituent to sway their support! Find your House Representative and their numbers here!

Here is a sample script to use when calling your Representative: I am a constituent as well as a member of Generation Ratify, the youth-led movement to support Ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment and advance gender equality. I am calling you about H.R. 2720, the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act of 2019. 

Introduced by Representative Lee in May of 2019, H.R. 2720 will work to provide for the overall health and well-being of young people, including the promotion of lifelong sexual health and healthy relationships. This education can prevent the spread of STIs, decrease unintended pregnancy rates, and combat domestic violence. 

A 2012 study that examined 66 comprehensive sexual risk reduction programs found them to be an effective public health strategy to reduce adolescent pregnancy, HIV, and STIs. It is clear: education is prevention.


H.R. 2720 will provide this education. I urge the Representative to support H.R. 2720, the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act of 2019. 

Email Your Representative and Urge Them to support it! As mentioned above, we need to put the pressure on the House to pass this. Use this form to send an email straight to your Representative!

Call other organizers to contact their Representatives. After contacting your Representatives, help mobilize other young people to contact their's by phone-banking our registered members across the country using this phone-bank!

Talk about it on social media. Posting on social media is a great way to not only spread the word and drive people to action, but to also put pressure on our elected officials. Tweet it out by clicking this link!

Get out the vote for pro-gender equality candidates. This election decides the fate of gender equality legislation. We need a pro-gender equality majority in both the House and the Senate. Help us get there by empowering the youth vote and advocating for leaders that value equality for our Elect Equal Rights Campaign.

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