Planned Parenthood knows that knowledge is power. That is why Planned Parenthood is the single largest provider of sex education in the United States, reaching 1.5 million people with education and outreach each year. When Minnesotans receive quality sex education taught by trained educators, they are given the skills to take control of their own sexual health and the tools to treat their bodies, and the bodies of others, with respect. Sex education should cover a wide range of topics from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) to healthy relationships and always be inclusive of LGBTQ+ and non-able bodied Minnesotans.
Unfortunately, there are no statewide requirements for teaching comprehensive sex ed in Minnesota schools. This creates a stratification of knowledge throughout the state and leaves certain communities more susceptible to outbreaks of STIs and higher rates of unwanted pregnancy.
Currently, Minnesota has no statewide requirements for teaching sex ed. There is no requirement to teach about contraceptives, include consent education, or for sex education to be LGBTQ+ inclusive.
The only current guidelines for sexual education in Minnesota are that a sex education course must be taught that includes:
- STD/STI and HIV/AIDS education
- Abstinence must be taught as the only 100% effective way to protect against unplanned pregnancy, STDs/STIs, and sexually transmitted HIV/AIDS.
- And that all information is technically- though not medically- accurate
Because every person makes important decisions about their sexual and reproductive health throughout their lifetime, it is important that all young people get the information they need to make healthy decisions. Comprehensive sex education that is age-appropriate, inclusive and medically accurate is essential to healthy youth development and it works.
Why do we need comprehensive sex education?
Research shows that the majority of adolescents don’t have the information they need to make responsible decisions about sex, leaving them vulnerable to coercion, STDs and unintended pregnancy. Additionally, in Minnesota, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are at historic highs, especially among people ages 15-24, and chronic health disparities–-by geography, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, and gender identity—persist.
Comprehensive sex education leads to healthy outcomes
✓ Studies show that teens who receive comprehensive sex education are 50% less likely to experience pregnancy than those who received abstinence-only programs.
✓ Studies have demonstrated that comprehensive sex ed programs help young people delay the onset of sexual activity and use contraception and protection when they do become sexually active.
✓ It also helps young people reduce risky behaviors that can lead to STDs and unintended pregnancy.
✓ Importantly, evidence shows youth who receive comprehensive sex ed are not more likely to become sexually active or experience negative sexual health outcomes.
Unfortunately, a bill to require that schools teach comprehensive sex ed stalled at the Minnesota Legislature in 2019. Contact your legislators and tell them to support comprehensive sex education for all Minnesota students.
Education at Planned Parenthood
The 16 unique education programs provided by Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota reach more than 40,000 young people and adults each year with information on healthy sexuality, communication, and healthy decision making. All education programs are age-appropriate, inclusive, culturally relevant, and evidence-based.
Planned Parenthood offers culturally-specific programs that are tailored to the specific cultural, medical, and linguistic needs of Minnesota’s many rich and diverse communities. Many of these programs are peer-to-peer youth education programs that have been found to be the most effective way to communicate information to teens. Others, like Entre Amigas and Partnership Project, give adults the resources to be a source of information and education within their communities.
All of Planned Parenthood’s programs incorporate consent language. From a condom demonstration to a lesson on healthy relationships, Planned Parenthood educators use scenario-based exercises to highlight the importance and explain the nuances of consent.