A bill introduced recently in Congress, if passed, could change the goal of sex education in public schools for the better.
Congressman Randy Hultgren (R-Illinois) introduced the Healthy Relationships Act of 2017 (H.R. 2028) on April 6. The legislation stresses sexual risk avoidance (SRA) (abstinence) and would allow grants to be awarded on a competitive basis to public and private schools that provide SRA education exclusively.
Valerie Huber of Ascend tells OneNewsNow that a similar bill was introduced last year but had virtually no chance of being signed by then-President Obama.
"This time, however, we are very encouraged that we can actually see this bill signed into law, changing what sex education looks like across the nation as a result," she shares.
In early March, Ascend sponsored its annual SRA Day on the Hill, during which members of Congress heard from teens how their lives have changed since participating in SRA education, and from adult advocates about the importance of SRA programs at the local level. During the day-long event, Rep. Hultgren discussed the Healthy Relationships Act.
Huber says the goal is to not only get H.R. 2028 passed, but at the same time defund the Obama-era sex-ed curriculum that emphasized birth control, not abstinence.
"A part of our strategy this year is ... also to undo the harm of the Obama administration for sex education," she explains, "so we are urging Congress to eliminate his so-called Teen Pregnancy Prevention program."
If that program is defunded, says Huber, that funding could then be used for the Healthy Relationships Act.
H.R. 2028, which was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, has six co-sponsors, all Republicans: Robert Aderholt (Alabama), Brian Babin (Texas), Jim Banks (Indiana), Vicky Hartzler (Missouri), Jody Hice (Georgia), and Darin LaHood (Illinois).