Sex Education

Sex Education

Although the U.S. Constitution guarantees that the government will neither promote nor interfere with religious belief, some abstinence-only-until-marriage programs violate this core freedom by using public dollars to convey overt religious messages or to impose religious viewpoints. The ACLU works to end this misuse of taxpayer dollars and ensure that teens get the information they need to make healthy decisions. More

Through legislation and public education the ACLU is working the ensure that every public school in America offers age appropriate K-12 sexuality education programming that gives young people the information they need to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.

Access to sex ed that includes information about sexuality, human relationships, as well as information about contraceptives, in a manner that is free from shame and stigma is critical to enabling individuals to lead healthy and fulfilling lives, to building a society that embraces sexual diversity, and to the exercise of reproductive rights. 

As a nation, we are far from this goal. For the last 15 years, the federal government has poured $1.5 billion into abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. These funds have fueled the proliferation of programs that censor information that students need about sexuality, foster shame, and fear, and, by definition, stigmatize LGBT youth and students whose parents are not married or cannot marry. Additionally, many are medically inaccurate; some promote religion; and others promote gender stereotypes. 

The fight to get rid of abstinence-only sex education and to ensure comprehensive sex education will continue in school districts, state houses, and Congress in years to come. 

Additional Resources

Responsible Spending: Real Sex Ed for Real Lives (2005 resource): Censorship. Misinformation. Indoctrination. Parents don't associate these words with their children's education, and taxpayers don't expect such practices to be funded by millions of federal dollars. Yet when President Bush proposed a $39 million increase in federal funding for abstinence-only-until-marriage sex education in his 2006 budget, he asked Congress to do just that. If the president gets what he asked for, the federal government will throw nearly $206 million in the next fiscal year into programs that a growing body of evidence shows are ineffective at best, and dangerous at worst.

Glee Rocks Sex Ed (2011 blog): Whether you're a Gleek or not, you can appreciate the bottom-line of this week's episode: teens — straight or LGBT — need good information at home and at school about making safe and healthy decisions about sex and they need caring adults to talk to.

California Leads on Sex Ed, But It's Not All Rosy in the Golden State (2010 blog)

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