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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: January 12, 2016 01:08 PM
From: Senator Rob Teplitz and Sen. Judith L. Schwank
To: All Senate members
Subject: Legislation – Pennsylvania Healthy Youth Act
In the near future, we will be introducing legislation that would require public schools to teach age-appropriate medically accurate sex education.

Given the amount of time students spend in school among teachers and peers, institutions have a responsibility to offer guidance on the growing health concern of unprotected sexual activity and the growing prevalence of STIs. Under this legislation, educators will address both abstinence and contraception, as well as healthy relationship practices and social pressures related to sexual behaviors. Topics such as affirmative consent of sexual activity and the consequences of “sexting” should be emphasized.

Unsafe, sexual practices among Pennsylvania teens have a major impact on the community. Unplanned teen pregnancy costs Pennsylvanians over $409 million in taxes per year. Despite significant declines in teen pregnancy, teen birth ratios are still highest in several highly populated, urban areas across the state. Rates continue to be highest among minority youth across Pennsylvania. Teenagers across the state need further education. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), nearly half of newly diagnosed STIs each year are among sexually active youth, ages 15-24. However, highly effective sex education curriculum shows a positive effect for the youth enrolled in such programs.

This can be a controversial issue, so we have tried to accommodate concerns. Under this legislation, a student would be excused from all or any part of the sexual health education with written request from the student's parent or guardian. Parochial and private schools would be exempt from this bill.

Please join us in co-sponsoring this piece of legislation to address a serious public health concern.

Introduced as SB1338