Comprehensive Sex Education
Medically accurate, age-appropriate, and non-judgmental comprehensive sexuality education programs are a vital part of any adolescent pregnancy prevention, sexual violence prevention, or health promotion effort.
Medically accurate, comprehensive sex education that includes lessons on abstinence and delaying sexual activity, having and maintaining healthy relationships, consent, and preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection (STI) helps ensure adolescents have the life skills they need to make informed, responsible decisions for years to come.
STI incidence rates are a major public health issue in North Carolina, with the cities of Raleigh and Charlotte recently ranked (2017) as having among the highest rates of STIs in the country.
Programs that teach only abstinence-until-marriage while ignoring important lessons on STIs and unintended pregnancy prevention do a disservice to our youth and leave them vulnerable to negative health consequences in the future.
Abstinence-only-until-marriage programs do no not prevent adolescents from having sex; it only prevents them from receiving the knowledge they will need to protect their health if they do become sexually active.
North Carolina Sexuality Education Law and Policy
In 2009, the North Carolina General Assembly changed our state’s sex education law with the passage of the Healthy Youth Act. North Carolina public schools are now required to present comprehensive information that is factually accurate, objective, and based on scientific research that is peer-reviewed and accepted by professionals and credentialed experts in the field of sexual health education.
The Healthy Youth Act replaced the antiquated, ineffective abstinence-only-until-marriage curriculum that had been in place for 15 years.
We are proud to have advocated for this legislation and are proud to continue working to ensure that the Healthy Youth Act is implemented in every school district in North Carolina. We must remain vigilant—anti-choice and anti-LGBTQ lawmakers still try to add ideological, judgmental and medically inaccurate components to the North Carolina sex education curriculum every legislative session.
The Guttmacher Institute created this chart of what sex education in each state does and doesn’t include.