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The Healthy Youth Act would ensure school districts in Massachusetts that choose to offer sex education teach age-appropriate, LGBTQ inclusive, medically accurate information. This commonsense bill has widespread support, both across the state and up in the Massachusetts State House. That’s why the Massachusetts Senate overwhelmingly passed the bill in July – and why it’s time for the Massachusetts House of Representatives to vote and pass the bill.

Read on to learn why these five state representatives think it’s more important than ever in today’s national political climate that their chamber pass the Healthy Youth Act without delay.

As a father and an advocate for children and families, I believe the passage of the Healthy Youth Act has never been more urgent. By equipping young people with the knowledge and tools needed to engage in healthy relationships and prevent STIs and pregnancy, we can improve the overall health and safety of our communities. Unfortunately, the Trump administration has taken aim at federal evidence-based, age-appropriate comprehensive sex education programs, which have been proven to reduce unintended pregnancy and STI rates and improve students’ ability to do well in school.  I want my sons and their peers to have access to these resources, and I know the vast majority of parents in Massachusetts do, too. That is why I am more invested than ever in passing the Healthy Youth Act.

Representative Paul Brodeur, lead sponsor of the Healthy Youth Act

 

I’ve worked as a counselor for victims of sexual violence and as a teen educator, and it could not be clearer—Massachusetts needs the Healthy Youth Act. The #MeToo movement has illuminated an epidemic I know all too well. As we consider ways to address sexual harassment, we should start with prevention. The Healthy Youth Act would ensure students who receive sex education are taught about consent and healthy relationships. By promoting comprehensive sex education, we can empower our young people, encourage them to make healthy decisions, and prevent sexual assault and teen dating violence.

Representative Natalie Higgins

 

Lack of more inclusive standards in sex education is failing our LGBTQ youth. Compared to their peers, LGBTQ high school students are nearly 3 times more likely to have experienced non-consensual sexual contact, and 4 times more likely to have skipped class in the past month because they feel unsafe at school. The Healthy Youth Act would ensure that all students of all gender identities and sexual orientations gain the tools and information to prevent STIs and stay healthy in relationships. Comprehensive sex education helps create a healthy environment for LGBTQ students to learn by being inclusive, and is actually proven to reduce bullying of LGBTQ teens and enhance their overall ability to learn. Let’s work to rid our schools of bullying, harassment, and unhealthy behavior. Let’s pass the Healthy Youth Act today.

Representative Jack Lewis

 

For me, the Healthy Youth Act is about equity. We’ve made tremendous progress in reducing unintended pregnancy among teens in Massachusetts -- but we still have plenty of work to do. Many towns and cities across the state have disproportionately high rates of teen pregnancy despite significant declines overall.  Last January, I spoke to hundreds of sexual health advocates at the 2017 Sexual Health Lobby Day with a message: We can’t stand idly by while the Trump administration’s regressive policies undermine our work. We must pass the Health Youth Act and educate youth in every community with accurate, stigma-free information.” 

Representative Juana Matias

 

In my 24 years as a social worker, I witnessed the many challenges children in middle and low income families face. And the experience taught me that helping the young people of Massachusetts lead healthy, happy lives will strengthen our state for years to come. The Healthy Youth Act would do just that. But we need to act fast. STI rates are rising, especially amongst our young people. By giving them the tools they need to make smart decisions and take care of themselves, we empower them to do better in school and stay healthy throughout their lives.

Representative Jim O’Day, lead sponsor of the Healthy Youth Act

We need more representatives like these to step up and pass the Healthy Youth Act. If you are interested in getting active to pass this legislation, sign up here

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