PLANNED PARENTHOOD ACTION FUND OF NEW JERSEY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 8, 2019
Contact: Casey Olesko 973-775-2781 / [email protected]
This May, Planned Parenthood Commemorates “Sex Ed For All: Youth Power, Information, and Rights Month”
TRENTON, NJ — Young people deserve to have the information, resources, and skills they need to protect their health and build their future — without shame or judgment. Sex education is essential to young people’s health, relationships, and life goals, and has a proven track record of helping young people develop the knowledge and skills they need to make healthy decisions about their relationships, their health, and their future. That’s why, this May, Planned Parenthood in New Jersey is commemorating “Sex Ed For All: Youth Power, Information, and Rights Month.”
“As the nation’s largest provider of sex education, Planned Parenthood is committed to helping young people stay safe and healthy,” said Triste Brooks, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Northern, Central, and Southern New Jersey. “Planned Parenthood affiliates across the country work every day to help young people get developmentally appropriate, medically accurate, LGBTQ-inclusive information, skills, and answers to their questions about sex and relationships. We’re here to help – no matter who you are or where you live.”
“We are standing with young people, no matter who they are or where they live, to fight for access to the sex education they need and deserve,” said Roslyn Rogers Collins, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan New Jersey. “It’s crucial that we listen to young people and ensure that they get the necessary information and skills they deserve to protect their health and plan their futures.”
For many years, the month of May has been recognized as National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month. But this year, a coalition of national organizations including Power to Decide, Advocates for Youth, SIECUS, Healthy Teen Network, the Guttmacher Institute, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America agreed to rename the observance to “Sex Ed For All: Youth Power, Information, and Rights Month,” in order to acknowledge that young people’s sexual health needs go beyond pregnancy prevention. A focus on “teen pregnancy prevention” contributes to stigma around pregnant and parenting youth. The new name makes clear that all young people deserve access to sex education.
Sex education can equip young people with the skills they need for a lifetime of good health, including the ability to have healthy relationships, make decisions for themselves, be a good ally to those who are marginalized, and love themselves for who they are. Sex education is about more than preventing unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections: it encompasses a broad variety of topics around sex, bodies, identities, and relationships, and allows students to explore their values and beliefs and practice the skills they need to navigate relationships, protect their health, and plan their future.
Access to sex education and sexual and reproductive health care services has been critical to helping teens stay safe and healthy. Rates of unintended pregnancy among teens in the U.S. have reached a historic low, and more young people are delaying sexual activity until they’re ready and using birth control when they do have sex. But too many young people in the U.S. are not getting the sex education they need. The quality of sex education young people receive — that is, if they receive it at all — should not depend on where they live.
In comparison to other states, New Jersey has strong sex education policy on the books. While we know that lots of great sex education is being provided in New Jersey’s schools, work is happening across the state to ensure our programs and policies are the best they can be. This week, a coalition of parents, community members, and statewide advocacy organizations will be launching the NJ Sex Ed Report Card campaign, which will begin with a series of surveys mailed to all New Jersey schools in order to identify areas where schools, administrators, teachers, and parents need more resources and support. New Jersey also convenes a committee of leaders in education to review the state’s sex education standards and guidelines every five years. This committee is slated to meet this year, and has the exciting opportunity to provide important revisions to ensure that New Jersey students receive strong sex education.