WASHINGTON - Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the nation’s leading provider of sex education, welcomed today’s introduction of the Youth Access to Sexual Health Services (YASHS) Act. The bill, sponsored by Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), creates a new grant program aimed at reaching underserved youth that face the greatest obstacles to access to sexual health services. The bill was introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this year by Representative Alma Adams (D-NC).

 

“Too many young people still face barriers to the sex education they need to help them make healthy decisions that set them on a path to success. As the nation’s leading provider of sex education, Planned Parenthoodis grateful for the leadership of Senator Hirono and Representative Adams in introducing the Youth Access to Sexual Health Services Act,” said Dana Singiser, Vice President for Government Relations at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “This legislation bridges the gap between sex education and reproductive health services and is designed to reach underserved youth with the tools they need to access sexual health services. This legislation also expands current federal adolescent sexual health programs to ensure they reach a larger percentage of America’s youth.”

 

The YASHS Act will:

  • Equip young people with education and motivation they need to access and obtain sexual health care and related services

  • Provide community grants that will provide services for our nation’s most underserved youth, giving them access to the sexual health services they need.

  • Support and expand existing programs to include youth who face systemic barriers to opportunities including:

    • Young people of color and immigrant youth.  Youth of color have disproportionately high rates of HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unintended pregnancy, especially among African American and Latino youth. The YASHS Act would ensure that all information provided is in the language and cultural context most appropriate for youth.

    • LGBTQ Youth. The YASHS Act funds grants that are inclusive of LGBTQ youth and their experiences. Sex education for LGBTQ youth is often ignored or legally restricted. Eighty-five percent of parents say they support sexual orientation as part of sex education.  

    • Youth in juvenile detention, foster care and homeless youth. The YASHS Act would work with community organization to ensure at-risk youth get access to services and sex education that are currently not served by federal teen pregnancy prevention programs.

    • Pregnant or parenting young people. Promote and support better health, educational, and economic development programs for school-age parents.


Every year, Planned Parenthood reaches 1.5 million teens, young adults and parents with sex education programs in communities throughout the country and millions more online. The YASHS Act would allow more marginalized youth to access sexual health services.