LANSING– State Senator Hoon-Yung Hopgood (D-Taylor) and state Representative Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) have introduced legislation that would require incorporating comprehensive, medically accurate and age-appropriate content into existing sex education curricula taught in Michigan schools.
“Research continues to show that comprehensive sex education, which teaches both abstinence and contraception, is most effective for young people,” Sen. Hopgood said. “Youth who receive this kind of education are more likely to initiate sexual activity later in life and use protection correctly and consistently when they do become sexually active.”
Current law requires that if a school offers a course on sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS education, it must also include “…the teaching of abstinence from sex as a responsible method for restriction and prevention of these diseases and as a positive lifestyle for unmarried young people.”
While nearly $1.5 billion has been spent during the past decade on abstinence-only programs, numerous studies-including a nine-year, large-scale federally funded evaluation of the Title V Abstinence Only program-have found no measurable impact that these programs increase abstinence or delay sexual initiation among participating youth.
In fact, twenty five states have rejected Title V money on the basis that studies have shown abstinence-only programs do not work. Michigan, which has the 27th highest teenage pregnancy rate in the nation, was not one of them.
The bill introduced by Sen. Hopgood and Rep. Irwin would simply require factual information be presented in sexuality education courses and that the material be age-appropriate, medically accurate and objective as part of a broad, comprehensive curriculum designed to prepare adolescents to become sexually healthy adults.
“Sexuality education should be fact-based and objective,” Rep. Irwin said. “Educating children about human biology and sexuality is the proven way to reduce unintended pregnancies and prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections.”