Healthy Relationship Act of 2015 Introduced in US Senate
April 15, 2015
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Senators Give Vote of Support for Sexual Risk Avoidance Abstinence Education
On Tuesday, April 14, one bill passed the Senate and another was introduced
and awaits further action, but both will give teens increased access to Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) abstinence education.
1. SRA Education Expands Within the “Doc Fix” Bill
The first was the highly anticipated Senate vote on the permanent “doc fix” bill passed earlier in the House. This will provide for a permanent solution to doctor’s reimbursement under Medicare but also contains a “win” for SRA education by reauthorizing the Title V grant program for 2 years and increasing the funding amount from $50 million to $75 million annually. Title V will now have funding parity with the Obama administration’s Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), a contraceptive-focused Sexual Risk Reduction (SRR) program.
2. Lindsey Graham Introduces Healthy Relationships Act
The second bill is yesterday’s introduction of Healthy Relationships Act of 2015 by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC). The bill, S. 923, is a companion to a bill by the same name sponsored in the House by Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL) and Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-IL).
NAEA would like to thank the congressional leadership that made the passage of the “doc fix” possible and who showed support for SRA education within the bill. The President has promised to quickly sign this bill.
We are also very appreciative of Sen. Graham’s leadership and opportune introduction of the Healthy Relationships Act to punctuate the Senate’s continued support of best health initiatives for American youth.
The Healthy Relationships Act calls for medically accurate, evidence-based and age appropriate instruction that prepares youth to make healthy decisions as they navigate in an increasingly sex-saturated culture. “It is critically important that our youth receive a strong message regarding the benefits of waiting for sex along with the practical skills needed to make good decisions that impact them now and in the future. We believe this bill will strengthen the health and well-being of our youth and thus society as a whole,” noted Valerie Huber, President of the National Abstinence Education Association.
This bill also requires a number of important topics to be thoroughly address by grantees including: the benefits of saving sex for marriage as associated with poverty prevention and optimal physical and emotional health; the foundational components of a healthy relationship; how to resist peer pressure regarding sex, the correlation of risk behaviors involving drugs, alcohol, the misuse of social media and how to avoid sexual coercion and dating violence among other topics.
NAEA is grateful that Congress recognizes the holistic nature of Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) education and its importance to the health of our youth. States will now have more resources to empower more young people with the healthy decision-making skills they need to thrive now and in the future.
NAEA is a professional association representing organizations and individuals who support a priority on risk avoidance through abstinence education. NAEA members serve almost 2 million students each year. For more information, visit the NAEA website: www.theNAEA.org and www.abstinenceworks.org.