NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts
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Sex Education

Abstinence-Only Sex Education is Harmful 

Not all students across the Commonwealth have the facts they need to make healthy, responsible decisions about sex and relationships. Of the 46% Massachusetts’s high school students who have had sexual intercourse, 42% did not use a condom and 74% did not use birth control pills. Many high school students have not received classroom instructions on HIV/AIDs and have not learned how to properly utilize pregnancy prevention methods.

Many public school districts in Massachusetts that teach sexuality education do not offer comprehensive, medically accurate, age-appropriate information to their students. In fact, many school curricula currently contain unproven, medically inaccurate information that leads students to make uninformed decisions about sex and relationships.

The Importance of Comprehensive Sex Education 

Comprehensive sex education programs work. They have been proven to delay the initiation of sex, reduce the frequency of sex and the incidence of unprotected sex, and increase the use of condoms and contraceptives. An Act Relative to Healthy Youth would ensure that schools offering sexuality education provide young people with age-appropriate, medically accurate information – including both instruction about abstinence and effective use of contraceptives to prevent pregnancy and protect against diseases.

An Act Relative to Healthy Youth is not a mandate. It maintains the existing law that allows parents to opt their children out of sexuality education programs. The Act also provides schools a set of standards to follow when choosing to teach sexuality education.

To learn more, email Rebecca Hart Holder, Execuitve Director, at

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