BOSTON—An overwhelming majority of likely Massachusetts voters want sex education to be taught in schools and believe this education should cover a range of topics about safer sex and healthy relationships, according to poll results (attached) released Monday. The new polling comes as advocates prepare to make their final appeal to the Massachusetts House of Representatives Tuesday to approve legislation improving access to comprehensive sex education in public schools.
Overall, 76 percent of likely Massachusetts voters believe middle school students have a right to receive sex education. This support jumps even higher—to 91 percent—when respondents were asked about high school students’ right to sex education. Not only do likely Massachusetts voters support school-based sex education, they strongly agree that sex education curricula should include a comprehensive range of topics. A total of 93 percent of likely Massachusetts voters believe sex education should teach young people how to care for their sexual health, as well as how to build healthy, respectful relationships and understand consent. This support is strong among voters of all political parties and in every region of the state.
On Tuesday, July 17 at 12 p.m., parents, educators, teens, and advocates will demonstrate this support at the State House and urge their State Representatives to approve the Healthy Youth Act before the end of the legislative session this month. The Healthy Youth Act would ensure that any Massachusetts public school electing to teach sex education chooses a curriculum that is medically accurate, age appropriate, LGBTQ-inclusive, and teaches lessons about sexual health and affirmative consent. The Lobby Day will kick off in Room 437 of the Massachusetts State House with remarks from Sen. Sal DiDomenico, Rep. Paul Brodeur, Rep. Jim O’Day, and Rep. Jack Lewis.
“Given the rising rates of sexually transmitted infections and the federal government’s abandonment of evidence-based sex education programs, it’s no surprise Massachusetts voters want our public schools to offer comprehensive sex education. Comprehensive sex education empowers young people with the information and resources they need to care for themselves, make healthy decisions and live their most meaningful lives,” said Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshak, president of the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts. “Massachusetts voters are counting on their State Representatives to help them support all young people and protect them from the harmful misinformation propagated by many abstinence-only programs.”
The telephone poll, commissioned by the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts and conducted by EMC research, surveyed 560 likely November 2018 voters in Massachusetts from June 14 through June 18, 2018. There is a margin of error of ±4.4 percentage points.
The Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts (PPAF) is the advocacy and political arm of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM). Formed in 1984, PPAF believes that working within the political process is critical to advancing PPLM’s mission to increase access to sexual and reproductive health services and comprehensive sexuality education for women, men, and families across Massachusetts. For more information, visit www.pplmvotes.org.