Comprehensive Sex Education and Reproductive Care for All Youth
Access to comprehensive and confidential sex education and reproductive care is imperative to keep young people safe, healthy, and engaged in school and work. Despite this, the federal government continues to invest millions of taxpayer dollars in abstinence-only programming based on incomplete and medically inaccurate information that disproportionately harms Black, Latinx, and Native students and is leveraged by some states to create a hostile learning environment for LGBTQ+ students.
To help ensure the health and socioeconomic success of all youth, Congress and the Department of Health and Human Services can increase funding for confidential, comprehensive, affirming, and evidence-based sex education and work to reduce barriers to the full scope of reproductive health care and contraceptive access.
- Align education and health policies and practices to support school health services, outline federal guidance for sexual health care provision in schools, and build the capacity of state and local officials to increase access to school health services, by establishing and funding a National Commission for Advancing School Health Services convened by the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Adolescent Health Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Program.
- Expand youth access to comprehensive and affirming sex education and reproductive health services with an emphasis on Black, Latinx, Native, AAPI, disabled, and LGBTQ+ youth by increasing funding for historically and culturally responsive programs that actively promote inclusion.
The Department of Health and Human Services can:
- Ensure that federal funding for existing initiatives, including the Personal Responsibility Education Program and the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, adheres to rigorous standards of evidence and complete, unbiased, science-based information in its grant announcements, grant awards, evaluations, and implementation.
- Clarify that state-level Medicaid and Title X programs should cover a broader definition of confidential sexual health services, including, but not limited to, gender-affirming services and PrEP.
- Ensure access to the full range of contraception approved by the Food and Drug Administration at no cost through insurance by limiting exceptions for employers with religious or moral objections.
- Reconstitute the Office of Adolescent Health to take on an expanded role in promoting adolescent health.
- Modify the HIPAA Privacy Rule to ensure minors can access confidential sexual health services by limiting disclosure to third parties.