Press Release: Real Education for Healthy Youth Act Introduced in the Senate

AFY-REHYA2Today, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act (REHYA) in the Senate. First brought to Congress in the House by Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA), REHYA would provide young people with the comprehensive sexual health education they need to make informed, responsible, and healthy decisions in order to become sexually healthy adults and have healthy relationships.

“In this time when politicians around the country are trying to roll back our reproductive and sexual health and rights, it’s heartening to see lawmakers do something right,” said Debra Hauser, President of Advocates for Youth. “We applaud Sen. Booker, Rep. Lee and all the co-sponsors of REHYA for standing up for young people’s right to lead healthy lives.”


The Real Education for Healthy Youth Act provides comprehensive sexual health education to adolescents and young adults in public schools, communities, and institutions of higher education that is age appropriate, inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) young people, and is medically accurate.

Among its many highlights, the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act:

  • Recognizes young people’s right to sexual health information — the first time federal legislation has ever done so.
  • Prepares young people to make informed, responsible and healthy decisions about relationships and sexual health by including a comprehensive range of topics such as communication and decision-making skills; promoting safe and healthy relationships; and preventing unintended pregnancy, HIV, other STDs, dating violence, sexual assault, bullying, and harassment.
  • Includes grants for comprehensive sexual health education programs for adolescents and young adults in institutions of higher education.
  • Requires all funded programs to be inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and heterosexual youth and meet the needs of young people who are and are not sexually active.
  • Highlights the importance of, and provides resources for, teacher training to ensure that our nation’s sex educators have the tools they need to provide the highest quality comprehensive sex education possible to our nation’s youth.

Contrary to the loud voices of the conservative minority, there is broad public support for comprehensive sexual health education, which includes information about both abstinence and contraception, but young people themselves are its biggest proponents. Recent research shows that 88% of Millennials support comprehensive sexual health education. Millennials show nearly universal support for sexual health education to include information about preventing HIV/AIDS and other STDs (91%); healthy relationships (90%); preventing unplanned pregnancy (88%); and information on abstinence from sex (79%). There is no question that young people want more sexual health literacy, more sex education in school and more access to the tools that will help to protect them.

The Real Education for Healthy Youth Act represents a turning point for sexual health education policy in America, with support from a diverse array of public health, nonprofit, and youth-serving organizations.


Advocates for Youth is a national non-profit that champions programs and advocates for policies that help young people make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual health. Advocates’ Youth Activist Network stands 75,000 strong on 1,000 campuses and in tens of thousands of communities.

For Immediate Release 

April 7, 2016


Rachel Cooke