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2018-27

Improved Universal Sex Education Including Consent

SENATOR MARTÍN QUEZADA (AZ), CHAIR EDUCATION TASK FORCE

Sponsored by: Representative Angela Romero (UT)
 
WHEREAS, sex education can encourage better sexual health outcomes, reduce stigma, and prepare young people to have healthy and fulfilling lives and relationships; and, 
 
WHEREAS, specifically, quality sex education can help young people to better understand their bodies and effectively communicate with healthcare providers; help them to make informed choices about their sexual health; and enable them to recognize elements of healthy and unhealthy relationships, before they become sexually active, so they can have healthier relationships in adulthood; and, 
 
WHEREAS, the content and quality of sex education varies widely in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fewer than half of high schools and only a fifth of middle schools teach all 16 topics recommended by the CDC as essential components of sex education. These topics range from basic information on how HIV and other STDs are transmitted and how to prevent infection to critical communication and decision-making skills;  and, 
 
WHEREAS, only 24 states mandate sex education and only 34 states mandate HIV education. Of the 24 states mandating sex education, only 9 mandate including information about consent;  and,
 
WHEREAS, students that receive lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer-inclusive sex education report less bullying and harassment based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression;  and, 
 
WHEREAS, many LGBTQ youth currently lack meaningful sex education; especially those living in several states, such as Arizona and Alabama, where current laws prohibit discussion of LGBTQ people in a positive light, if at all, and in some cases mandate inaccurate teaching regarding LGBTQ people;  and,
 
WHEREAS, a 2018 national survey found that 89 percent of likely voters feel it is important to have sex education in middle school, and 98 percent of likely voters feel it is important to have sex education in high school;  and,
 
WHEREAS, research clearly shows that abstinence-only sexual education does not actually beget abstinence;  and,
 
WHEREAS, parent-specific surveys have concluded that 89 percent of parents, including Democrats and Republicans, want their children to receive sex education that includes a wide range of topics like birth control, healthy relationships, abstinence, and sexual orientation;  and,
 
WHEREAS, a survey conducted in 2015 by NORC at the University of Chicago showed that an overwhelming majority of Americans support teaching consent in middle school  and in high school;  and,
 
WHEREAS, despite this public consensus, very few Americans reported learning about consent in middle school or high school;  and,
 
WHEREAS, similarly low numbers reported learning about consent from their parents;  and, 
 
WHEREAS, the #MeToo movement has demonstrated the crisis that can result from a lack of understanding or respecting of sexual consent, with bad communication cited as a troublingly common excuse; and,
 
WHEREAS, for example, the survey showed strong disagreement about whether certain non-verbal behaviors constitute consent;  and, 
 
WHEREAS, there are ongoing policy discussions throughout the nation about revising and clarifying sexual consent laws; and, 
 
WHEREAS, for example, the state of Minnesota is considering changes to its rape statute that would define when a person is too intoxicated to provide consent;  and,
 
WHEREAS, in the decade ending in 2016, Hispanic teens registered a 72% decrease in pregnancy rates as a group (non-Hispanic blacks had an 83% decline and non-Hispanic whites had a 67% decline), but still have well over twice the pregnancy rate of non-Hispanic white teens, the highest for any ethnic group except American Indian or Alaska Native;  and,
 
WHEREAS, the leading health and education organizations support sex education that includes information about both delaying sexual activity and effective contraception use; and,
 
WHEREAS, at least some research concludes that, thanks in part to an increased affordability of contraceptives, the decline in teen pregnancy is conclusively linked to improved contraceptive use,  an important part of a quality sex education curriculum.
 
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators strongly recommends states adopt required sex education curricula that includes all the topics recommended by the CDC at the middle and high school levels respectively; and, 
 
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators particularly strongly recommend states include the age-appropriate teaching of sexual consent, including how to ask for it, how to decline it, how to give it, and how to recognize it, in all sex education curricula in middle school and above; and,
 
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators strongly recommends all states ensure the age-appropriate teaching of sex education that is inclusive and respectful of diverse sexual orientation and gender identity.
 
THE NATIONAL HISPANIC CAUCUS OF STATE LEGISLATORS RATIFIED THIS RESOLUTION ON DECEMBER 8, 2018 AT ITS ANNUAL MEETING IN SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA.