New Orleans has some of the highest rates of unintended pregnancies and STDs among young people in the United States.
Louisiana schools aren’t required to teach sex education. If they do opt to teach it, the “major emphasis” must be abstinence. There is no requirement for these programs to provide information on condoms or contraception: information that could protect students’ health or even save their lives.
HB 359 would require Orleans Parish public schools to teach sex education that includes information about contraception and sexually transmitted diseases. HB 326 also grants Orleans Parish public schools permission to conduct a survey about students’ sexual risk behaviors, creating a better understanding of students’ sexual health and the gaps we need to fix.
If passed, these laws would be an important step towards providing New Orleans-area students with the information and skills they need to protect themselves, and make healthy decisions about their sexual health.
Both bills are headed to the floor debate tomorrow! We can’t continue to leave our young people vulnerable.
Advocates for Youth
Coordinator, State Policy and Partnerships