Legislation would include medically accurate, age-appropriate information in curriculum

LANSING, Michigan – On the heels of Friday’s move by the Trump administration to expand the rights of employers to deny women insurance coverage for free birth control, Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood (D–Taylor) has introduced legislation that would require comprehensive, medically accurate and age-appropriate content be integrated into existing sex education curricula taught in Michigan schools.

Senate Bill 629 would require factual information be presented in sexuality education courses. The proposed, included material would have to be age-appropriate, medically accurate and objective, and would help provide a broader curriculum designed to prepare adolescents to become sexually healthy adults.

“Research continues to show that comprehensive sex education, which teaches both abstinence and contraception, is most effective for young people,” Sen. Hopgood said. “Youth who receive this kind of education are more likely to initiate sexual activity later in life and use protection correctly and consistently when they do become sexually active.”

Under current law, if a school offers a course on sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS education, it must also include the teaching of abstinence as a responsible method for restriction and prevention of diseases, and as a positive lifestyle for unmarried young people.

While nearly $1.5 billion has been spent during the past decade on abstinence-only programs, numerous studies — including a nine-year, large-scale federally funded evaluation of the Title V, Abstinence Only program — have found no measurable impact that these programs increase abstinence, or delay sexual initiation, among participating youth.

Additionally, a recent study by the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine found that abstinence-only programs have failed at deterring teens from risky behaviors, and have not properly recognized LGBTQ+ students and their culture. They also withhold useful, science-based information on sexual health practices.

“Sexuality education should be fact-based and objective,” Sen. Hopgood said. “This legislation is intended to help educate children about human biology and sexuality, which has proven to be an effective way of reducing unplanned pregnancies and preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.”