National Partnership for Women & Families

Sex Education | In the News

Both through state budgets and legislation the struggle continues to ensure that teens have access to comprehensive sex education, as opposed to abstinence only education. Comprehensive sex education is proven to help teens make healthier decisions when and if they have sex.

Featured Blog
"California Parents Complain That Sex Ed Textbook is 'Equivalent To Pornography'"(Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 8/12).

Texas Lags Behind Other States in Lowering Teen Birth Rates
Texas has been less effective than other states at lowering the birth rate among teenagers, the Texas Tribune/New York Times reports.

La. Gov. Signs Bill Restricting Sex Education
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) has signed into law (HB 305) a bill that would restrict sex education in the state, Reuters reports.

CDC Report: Need for Better Sex Ed, Contraceptive Use Despite Record-Low Teen Births
Teen birth rates have declined by nearly 63% since 1991, according to new CDC data published in the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, NBC News reports.

Featured Blog: 'Getting Serious About Sex Education'
"Moving away from abstinence-only curricula in schools and strengthening the public image is the only way to start to solve" the problem of "how and where teens are accessing information about sex and sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy," argues Imelda Reyes in the Washington Post's "The Answer Sheet."

Miss. Struggles With Sex Education Despite Policy Changes
A Mississippi law (HB 999) that requires schools to teach sex education to students has not been as effective as intended because of a lack of enforcement and a continued focus on abstinence-only education, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Featured Blog: 'Meet the Republican Man Who is Trying To Get Real Sex Education Into South Carolina Schools'
Slate's Amanda Marcotte comments on a recent vote by the "Republican-led South Carolina statehouse ... to update the law regarding sex education to include instruction on the use of contraception."

La. Bill Requiring 'Age-Appropriate' Sex Ed Fails for Third Year
A Louisiana bill (HB 369) that would have required public schools to offer sex education failed 3-10 in the state House Education Committee, the Baton Rouge Advocate reports.

La. Senate Advances Bill Restricting Sex Education
The Louisiana Senate in a 31-5 vote on Tuesday passed a bill (HB 305) that would prohibit people who work for abortion providers from distributing health education materials in schools, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports.

Featured Blog
"Louisiana's War on Women: The 5 Worst Attacks on Reproductive Rights Launched This Year," (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 5/22).

La. House Rejects Teen Sex Survey Bill
The Louisiana House on Monday voted 55-38 to reject a bill (HB 393) that would have allowed questions on teen sexual health and behavior to be added back into an existing federal youth survey, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.

S.C. Bill Would Update State's 26-Year-Old Sex Ed Requirements
The South Carolina House in a 57-53 vote passed a measure (H 3435) that would update the state's 26-year-old sexual education curriculum, the AP/Columbia State reports.

Featured Blog
"Meet the Republican Man Who is Trying To Get Real Sex Education Into South Carolina Schools" (Marcotte, "XX Factor," Slate, 5/2).

La. House Panel Advance Sex Education, Abortion Bills
A Louisiana House panel on Wednesday advanced two measures, including a bill (HB 305) that would bar certain groups from distributing sex education materials in schools and another (HB 1262) that would require women to review written information before an abortion, the New Orleans Advocate reports.

Featured Blog
"5 Simple Strategies To Reduce Teen Pregnancies That Worked in This Rural South Carolina Town" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 3/31).

Featured Blog
"Getting Serious About Sex Education" (Reyes, "The Answer Sheet," Washington Post, 3/2).

ACLU Drops Lawsuit After Calif. School District Adjusts Sex Ed Program
Both sides are declaring victory after ending a legal fight over an allegedly inadequate sex education program in a California school district, KQED's "News Fix" reports.

Featured Blogs
"10 Dangerous Anti-Abortion Bills That Are Already Gaining Traction This Year" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 2/18) and "The Failures of Abstinence-Only Education Illustrated in 2 Charts" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 2/20).

Featured Blogs
"More Abortion Restrictions Were Enacted From 2011 to 2013 Than in the Entire Previous Decade" (Gold/Nash, RH Reality Check, 1/6); "Fifth Circuit Judges Hear Arguments on Texas' Omnibus Anti-Abortion Law" (Grimes, RH Reality Check, 1/6); "Texas Family Describes 'Pure Hell' of Being Forced To Keep Their Loved One on Life Support" (McDonough, Salon, 1/6); and As Abortion Providers Are Under Attack, Fake Anti-Choice Clinics Are Gaining Ground" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 1/2).

Upcoming Ky. Rally Aims To Show Support for Reproductive Rights
Reproductive-rights supporters in Kentucky are staging a Nov. 2 rally at the state Capitol to gain attention from state legislators, WFPL reports.

Rates of Infant Mortality, Teen Births Drop in Miss., New Report Says
Mississippi's teen birth rate has declined from 65.6 births in 2008 to 46 in 2012, according to a report from the Mississippi Department of Health, the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reports.

Little-Known ACA Provision Funds N.C. Plan To Teach Abstinence in Schools
The North Carolina State Board of Education on Thursday approved a plan for distributing federal funding to rural public school districts to teach students about abstinence, the AP/Raleigh News & Observer reports.

Ill. Gov. Signs Bill Into Law Requiring Schools To Address Contraception, STIs in Sex Education
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) has signed into law a measure (HB 2675) requiring that public school students be taught about contraception and sexually transmitted infections in sex education classes, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports.

Planned Parenthood Lawsuit Over Kan. Antiabortion Law Narrowed to One Provision
U.S. District Judge Kathryn Vratil on Monday approved an agreement to narrow a Planned Parenthood lawsuit against a far-ranging Kansas law restricting abortion, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports.

Ill. Sex Ed Law Might Mean Few Changes for Some Schools
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) plans to sign into law a measure (HB 2675) requiring that schools offer comprehensive sex education, but it is unclear how the legislation will affect existing curricula, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports.

Featured Blogs
"Federal Court Blocks North Dakota Law That Would Ban Abortion as Early as Six Weeks" (Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check, 7/22); "Solutions in Search of a Problem: Texas Is Latest to Enact Rules Aimed at Shutting Down Abortion Providers" (Cohen, RH Reality Check, 7/19); "Legal Wrap: States Ramp Up Anti-Abortion Activity, Again" (Pieklo, RH Reality Check, 7/22); "Despite North Carolina's Attack On Abortion Clinics, Planned Parenthood Pledges To Stay Open" (Culp-Ressler, "Think Progress," Center for American Progress, 7/19); and "Thanks To Better Sex Ed, California's Teen Birth Rate Has Plummeted By 60 Percent" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 7/19).

N.C. Bill Falsely Tying Abortions to Preterm Births Signed; Physicians Groups Criticize Legislative Interference
North Carolina Gov. Patrick McCrory (R) on Thursday signed a sex education bill (SB 132) that will require public schools to teach students there is a link between abortions and future preterm births, WWAY reports.

Kan. Judge Blocks Some Parts of Antiabortion Law, Others Take Effect
A Kansas judge on Friday temporarily blocked provisions of a state law that require abortion providers to post certain information on their websites and redefine medical emergencies in a way that critics say could restrict abortion access, the AP/Washington Post reports.

N.C. House Advances Bill Claiming Link Between Abortion, Preterm Birth
The North Carolina House on Thursday approved a sex education bill (SB 132) after amending language on abortion meant to appease opponents who thought it went too far, the WNCN reports.

Planned Parenthood Seeks Immediate Hold on Kan. Antiabortion Law
Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri on Monday requested a temporary injunction blocking enforcement of a Kansas antiabortion-rights law while a lawsuit determining its constitutionality is resolved, the AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Featured Blogs
"A Tale of Two Sex Ed Programs" (Townsend, Care2, 6/2).

Abstinence Talk at Tenn. High School Promotes Inaccurate Information
A presentation to Tennessee high schoolers on abstinence and abortion is drawing attention after a student recorded the lecture, which was riddled with factually inaccurate information, The Tennessean/USA Today reports.

Featured Blogs
"Illinois Bans Abstinence-Only Sex Ed: 'In Fantasy Land, We Teach Our Kids Abstinence'" (Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "Think Progress," 5/24); "Congressman: Women Should Be Forced To Give Birth To Fetuses With No Brain Function" (Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "Think Progress," 5/24); "North Carolina To Give Quarter of a Million Dollars in Women's Health Funding to Deceptive 'Clinics,'" (Robin Marty, RH Reality Check, 5/24).

Ill. Sex Education Bill Heads to Gov. Quinn
The Illinois Senate on Wednesday approved a bill (HB 2675) that would require school sex education courses to include medically accurate and age-appropriate materials, including information on contraception, the Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette reports.

N.C. Senate Passes Education Bill Claiming Link Between Abortion, Preterm Births
The North Carolina Senate on Monday approved a bill (SB 132) that would require school health educators to teach students that abortion can increase the risk of premature births in future pregnancies, the AP/WFMY News 2 reports.

N.C. Senate Bill Would Teach Students Abortion is Linked to Premature Birth
The North Carolina Senate Health Committee on Wednesday approved a bill (SB 132) that would require school health educators to teach students that abortion can increase the risk of premature births in future pregnancies, the Raleigh News & Observer reports.

Several States Take Aim at Comprehensive Sex Education
Lawmakers in several states this year are backing legislation to curtail comprehensive sex education in favor of antiabortion and abstinence-focused programs, The Week reports.

Nev. Assembly Passes Comprehensive Sex Education Bill
The Nevada Assembly on Tuesday voted 26-15 to approve a bill (AB 230) that would implement a new sex education curriculum in public schools, the AP/NECN reports.

Ohio House Drops 'Gateway Sexual Activity' Sex Ed Provision From Budget
The Ohio House on Thursday voted 76-19 to remove a budget amendment that would have barred instructors from discussing "gateway sexual activity" in sex education classes, StateImpact Ohio reports.

Kan. Gov. Brownback Signs Sweeping Bill With Several Abortion Restrictions
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) on Friday approved a far-reaching antiabortion-rights bill (HB 2253) that restricts access to the procedure, penalizes entities associated with abortion providers and declares that life begins "at fertilization," the AP/Topeka Capital-Journal reports.

Ohio House Committee Approves Amendment To Limit Sex Education in Schools
The Ohio House Finance and Appropriations Committee on Tuesday approved a budget proposal that includes a provision barring schools from endorsing anything other than abstinence in sex education classes, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

State Lawmakers Focusing on Abortion Bans in 2013, Guttmacher Analysis Finds
State legislators in the first three months of 2013 introduced 694 reproductive health-related measures, including about 347 to restrict abortion, according to an analysis by the Guttmacher Institute, United Press International reports.

Bipartisan S.C. Bill Would Update Sex Education Law To Include Pregnancy Prevention
A bipartisan group of South Carolina House members on Tuesday proposed legislation (HB 3435) that would update the state's 25-year-old sex education law to include new lessons on contraception and sexually transmitted infections, while maintaining a focus on abstinence, the Columbia State reports.

Kansas Lawmakers Send Governor Sweeping Abortion Bill Declaring Life Begins 'at Fertilization'
Kansas lawmakers late Friday granted final passage to sweeping antiabortion legislation (HB 2253) that would ban certain abortions, penalize entities associated with abortion providers and define life as beginning "at fertilization," The Hill's "Blog Briefing Room" reports.

Featured Blogs
"Outlawing Abortion Won't Help Children with Down Syndrome" (Alison Piepmeier, New York Times' "Motherlode," 4/1); "Seven States Working Hard To Shut Down Abortion Clinics" (Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress," 4/3); "Nevada Lawmaker Receives Death Threats After Talking About Her Abortion" (Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "Think Progress," 4/4).

N.D. Conference Committee Drops Amendment Targeting Sex Education Research
A North Dakota conference committee on Tuesday dropped an amendment that would have prohibited the use of public funds to contract with "entities performing, inducing, referring for, or counseling in favor of, abortions," the AP/Atlanta-Journal Constitution reports.

Sweeping Kan. Antiabortion Bill Heading to Gov. Brownback; Wichita Clinic Opening for First Time Since Tiller's Death
The Kansas Senate on Tuesday voted 29-11 to pass a far-reaching antiabortion-rights bill (HB 2253) that restricts access to abortion care and penalizes entities associated with abortion providers, the AP/Chicago Sun-Times reports.

N.D. House Committee Approves Amendment Targeting Sex Ed Research
The North Dakota House Human Services Committee on Monday approved an amendment that would prohibit the use of public funds to contract with "entities performing, inducing, referring for, or counseling in favor of, abortions," the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead reports.

N.D. Amendment Could Thwart Valuable Research, Editorial Argues
Although Planned Parenthood is lawmakers' "target of choice" in an amendment that seeks to block funding for a sex education program run by the group, the provision's broad language "could undermine or scuttle other areas of valuable scientific and social research" if lawmakers disapprove of certain groups, "no matter how tangential such involvement might be," a Forum of Fargo-Moorhead editorial states.

Kan. House Approves Sweeping Antiabortion Bill, Rejects Proposal To Add Exceptions Late in Pregnancy
The Kansas House on Tuesday gave preliminary approval to a broad antiabortion-rights bill (HB 2253) with several provisions aimed at restricting access to the procedure and penalizing entities associated with abortion providers, the AP/Olathe News reports.

Kan. House Committee Approves Sweeping Abortion Bill
The Kansas House Federal and State Affairs Committee on Thursday approved a broad antiabortion-rights bill (HB 2253) with several provisions aimed at restricting access to the procedure, the Lawrence Journal-World/Kansas City Kansan reports.

Featured Blogs
"Some Arkansas Legislators do the Time Warp; Pass Most Extreme Abortion Bill in the Nation" (Hayley Smith, ACLU's "Blog of Rights," 2/28) and "States With the Highest Teen Pregnancy Rates Lack Adequate Sex Ed Requirements" (Rebecca Leber/Adam Peck, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress," 3/1).

N.D. Sex Education Program Set To Launch After Legal Delay Over Funding
A sex education program developed by two North Dakota State University professors will "go forward immediately," after state Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem (R) issued a legal opinion resolving a month-long freeze on the program's federal funding, the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead reports.

Featured Blogs
"State Funding Cuts and Anti-Choice Policies Cited for Closure of Four Wisconsin Planned Parenthood Clinics" (Robin Marty, RH Reality Check, 2/18), "North Dakota Attorney General Says Sex Ed Program Can Move Forward" (Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check, 2/18) and "State Legislatures Increasingly Provide Tax-Payer Funding of Non-Medical Crisis Pregnancy Centers" (Marty, RH Reality Check, 2/15).

Advocates Hope Miss. Sex Education Law Proves Effective at Reducing Teen Pregnancy
Mississippi educators and youth advocates hope that a state sex education law will reduce teen pregnancy rates and improve economic opportunity, Time reports.

Featured Blogs
"Why are New York's Teen Pregnancy Rates so Much Lower Than Mississippi's?" (Amanda Marcotte, Slate 's "XX Factor," 9/24) and "Rick Perry Wants To Replace Planned Parenthood With Crisis Pregnancy Centers That Don't Provide Health Services" (Amanda Peterson Beadle, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress," 9/21).

Calif. School District Sued Over Sex Education Curriculum
The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against a California school district alleging that its ninth-grade sex education curriculum does not meet state Department of Education guidelines, the Fresno Bee reports.

Controversial Tenn. Sex Ed Bill Will Do Little To Address High Teen Pregnancy Rate, Experts Say
Although the controversy surrounding Tennessee's new sex education law (HB 3621) has centered on a provision banning lessons on "gateway sexual activity," there has been little discussion on whether the measure will actually reduce teenage pregnancy rates, the AP/Washington Post reports.

N.M. Official Resigns After Promoting Condoms To Prevent STIs Among Teens
The chief medical officer for New Mexico's Department of Health says she was asked to resign after she advocated condom use to lower rates of sexually transmitted infections among teens during a television interview, AP/NECN reports.

Tenn. Gov. Haslam Signs 'Gateway Sexual Activity' Bill
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) has signed a bill (HB 3621) that requires an abstinence-centered approach to sex education in public school and bans instructors from discussing "gateway sexual activity," the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports.

La. House Panel Rejects Sex Education Bill Again But Approves Student Survey
A Louisiana House committee on Tuesday voted 9-9 to reject for the second time a bill (HB 820) that would mandate the teaching of sex education courses at public schools, the Baton Rouge Advocate reports.

La. Sex Education Bill Fails in House Committee, Might Be Reconsidered
A Louisiana House committee on Wednesday voted 8-8 to reject a bill (HB 820) that would mandate sex education courses at public schools, the Baton Rouge Advocate reports.

Ariz. Gov. Brewer Signs Sweeping Antiabortion Bill That Includes 20-Week Ban, Medication Abortion Restrictions
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) on Thursday signed into law a bill (HB 2036) that includes several abortion restrictions, including a ban on the procedure after 20 weeks of gestation in nearly all cases and other limits on abortion, Reuters reports.

Wis. Gov. Walker Quietly Signs Bills Placing New Restrictions on Abortion Care, Insurance Coverage, Sex Education
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) on Thursday signed three separate bills restricting abortion care and insurance coverage of the procedure, as well as imposing new requirements for sex education, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports.

Tenn. Lawmaker Withdraws Provision That Would Publish Names of Abortion Providers; Abstinence-Only Bill Advances
Tennessee Rep. Matthew Hill (R) is withdrawing a controversial provision in a Tennessee bill (HB 3808) amid opposition from a physicians group and advocates on both sides of the abortion-rights debate, the AP/NECN reports.

Wis. Medical Group Urges Gov. Walker To Veto Antiabortion Bill
The Wisconsin Medical Society on Tuesday sent a letter to Gov. Scott Walker (R) urging him to veto a bill (SB 306) that would add more requirements for doctors in screening women before abortion care, the AP/Oshkosh Northwestern reports.

Utah Governor Vetoes Abstinence-Only Sex Education Bill
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) on Friday night vetoed a bill (HB 363) that would have required public schools that offer sex education classes to focus solely on abstinence and banned teachers from educating students about contraceptives, homosexuality or premarital sex, the AP/St. George Spectrum reports.

Wis. Assembly Passes Bills Limiting Abortion Coverage, Mandating Abstinence Education
The Wisconsin Assembly this week passed bills that would restrict insurance coverage of abortion services and require schools to teach that abstinence is the only reliable method of preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, the AP/Racine Journal Times reports

Utah Gov. Urged To Veto Abstinence-Only Sex Education Bill
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) has received hundreds of emails urging him to veto a bill (HB 363) that would require public schools that offer sex education classes to focus solely on abstinence, the AP/Cache Valley Daily reports.

Utah Senate Sends Sex Education Bill To Gov.
On Tuesday, the Utah Senate voted 19-10 to approve a bill (HB 363) that would allow public schools to opt out of sexual education instruction but require those that include it to teach an abstinence until marriage curricula, the Daily Herald reports.

Utah House Approves Abstinence-Only Sex Education Bill
The Utah House on Wednesday voted 45-28 to approve a bill (HB 363) that would allow public schools to eliminate sex education instruction but require schools that include it to use abstinence-only curricula, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

Abortion-Rights Opponents in Kan. at Odds Over Legislative Priorities
Kansas House Judiciary Committee Chair Lance Kinzer (R) does not plan to hold a hearing on a "personhood" bill (HCR 5029), a decision that is fueling a rift between abortion-rights opponents over the best strategy for restricting the procedure, the AP/Kansas City Star reports.

Sex Education Less Effective in Conservative States, Study Finds
States with increased comprehensive sex education in schools tend to have lower teen birth rates, but sex education has not reduced conservative states' teen births, according to a study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, MSNBC's "Vitals" reports.

N.Y. Lawmakers Feud Over Reproductive Health Week Resolution
The Democratic-led New York state Assembly on Tuesday approved a resolution to designate Jan. 22 to Jan. 28 as "Reproductive Rights and Justice Week," but the resolution is stalled in the Senate, where the Republican majority recently stripped key language, the Ithaca Journal reports.

Wis. Assembly Panel Advances Sex Education Bill With Focus on Abstinence
The Wisconsin Assembly's education committee on Wednesday passed a bill that would require that sex education programs in schools stress abstinence, WHBL reports.

Neb. Sen. Calls for 'Medically Accurate' Sex Education
Nebraska Sen. Brenda Council on Saturday said she hopes to sponsor a bill in the state Legislature that would require age-appropriate, "medically accurate" sex education for all students, the AP/Omaha World-Herald reports.

Wis. Senate Endorses Abstinence-Only Sex Education Bill
The Wisconsin Senate last week voted 17-15 to approve a bill (SB 237) that would allow schools to teach abstinence-only sex education courses, effectively undermining a law enacted last year that requires sex education programs to include instruction on contraception, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

More Texas Schools Opting for 'Abstinence-Plus' Sex Education
While abstinence-only programs remain the dominant sex education curricula for Texas public schools, some districts are opting for "abstinence-plus" programs, which focus on abstinence but include some information on contraception, the Texas Tribune/New York Times reports.

D.C. Students To Take Nation's First Standardized Test on Health, Sex Education
Starting this spring, students in Washington, D.C., public and public charter schools will take a standardized test on human sexuality, contraception and drug use, according to the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, the Washington Post reports.

Sex Education | In the Courts

This section provides a brief overview of significant cases impacting reproductive rights and health related to Sex Education.