FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 17, 2009
NARAL Pro-Choice America Praises Introduction of Lautenberg-Lee REAL Act
Washington, DC – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice American and a former teacher and state education official, today praised Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) for leading the effort to establish the first-ever federal program for comprehensive sex education.
The Responsible Education About Life (REAL) Act would fund honest, realistic sex education for young people in public schools around the country.
"This bill reflects the American value that our teens should get honest, realistic information in the classroom," Keenan said. "As someone who spent 25 years as a teacher and state education official in Montana, I commend Sen. Lautenberg, Rep. Lee, and all the bill's supporters for answering the public's call to move away from the failed Bush-backed 'abstinence-only' policy. Americans, especially parents, want to provide teens with the truth about contraception and other ways to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and avoid unintended pregnancy. The parents I talk to believe that values are taught at home and the facts are taught at school. The REAL Act reflects this principle."
This year, in a departure from years past, Congress heeded the public's call for a focus on commonsense solutions to prevent unintended pregnancies and to cut funding for failed "abstinence-only" programs of the Bush era by $14 million.
Currently, states and localities can only receive federal funding if they agree to teach "abstinence-only" programs in their schools. That means teachers must censor information about the health benefits of contraception. Under the REAL Act, states could apply for federal funding to teach honest and age appropriate sex-education classes in their schools.
NARAL Pro-Choice America will continue to work with lawmakers to advance this legislative measure as a part of its Prevention First initiative. NARAL Pro-Choice America launched the Prevention First initiative in 2005 to advance commonsense policy solutions to prevent unintended pregnancies and therefore reduce the need for abortion.
For more information, please visit www.ProChoiceAmerica.org.