Policy and Advocacy
Record of Recent Legislation & Sex Education Victories Print

State Sex Education Resource Center:
Policy & Advocacy Tools

Trends within states in 2007 & 2008:

Within the past two years, advocates have been working in states to enact and implement good sex education policy while also eliminating harmful federal funds for abstinence-only programs.

As of November 2008, 23 states have rejected Title V abstinence-only funding. Those states are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

In April 2007, Governor Culver of Iowa signed House File 611 into law, requiring that health curricula, include information on sexually transmitted infections and human growth and development, use up-to-date, age-appropriate, research-based materials.

In May 2007, Governor Ritter of Colorado signed HB 1292, requiring that schools offering sex education develop scientifically and medically accurate curricula that stress abstinence and also discuss the health benefits of using contraception.

In May 2007, Governor Gregoire of Washington signed into law the Healthy Youth Act, which requires that when school districts decide to offer sex education, they must teach medically accurate and comprehensive sex ed. 

In October 2007, Governor Schwarzenegger of California signed the Sexual Health Education Accountability Act into law. This law strengthens California’s existing good sex education law by requiring state funds for community-based sex education to be spent on programs that are medically accurate, free of bias, do not promote or teach religious doctrine, are culturally and linguistically appropriate, and include information about at least one FDA-approved method for preventing pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections.

In November 2007, the District of Columbia State Board of Education unanimously passed standards for health and physical education, including grade-specific sex education and information about HIV/AIDS.

During the 2008 legislative sessions, four states introduced legislation similar to the Responsible Education About Life (REAL) act, which is the only federal bill that supports funding for comprehensive sex education: Connecticut, Florida, Minnesota and New York.

Below are links to sex education legislation or standards that have been enacted in states in recent years. For more information or to request assistance, please contact Advocates’ state strategies staff at 202-419-3420.

Colorado’s House Bill 1292 is an example of “if-then” legislation, stating that if school districts, family resource centers, and teen pregnancy prevention programs offer instruction regarding human sexuality, science-based content standards for such instruction must be used. This legislation also specifies the minimum requirements for a school district curriculum (pdf).

New York’s Healthy Teens Act would establish a competitive grant program through the state’s Department of Health for the specific purpose of awarding grants to school districts, boards of cooperative educational services (BOCES), school-based health centers and community-based organizations for age-appropriate sex
education programs.

New Jersey’s Core Curriculum Content Standards for Comprehensive Health and Physical Education (pdf) are an excellent example of state standards for sex education or family life education.

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