Sex Education Law and Legal Definition
Because of pregnancy and childbirth among unmarried adolescents, particularly young adolescents, often resulting in severe adverse health, social, and economic consequences, including: a higher percentage of pregnancy and childbirth complications; a higher incidence of low birth weight babies; a higher frequency of developmental disabilities; higher infant mortality and morbidity; and a decreased likelihood of completing school, there are laws regulating sex education in schools.
The following is an example of a state statute on sex education for students:
Minimum contents to be included in sex education program or curriculum.
(a) Any program or curriculum in the public schools in Alabama that includes sex education or the human reproductive process shall, as a minimum, include and emphasize the following:
- Abstinence from sexual intercourse is the only completely effective protection against unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) when transmitted sexually
- Abstinence from sexual intercourse outside of lawful marriage is the expected social standard for unmarried school-age persons.
(b) Course materials and instruction that relate to sexual education or sexually transmitted diseases should be age-appropriate.
(c) Course materials and instruction that relate to sexual education or sexually transmitted diseases should include all of the following elements:
- An emphasis on sexual abstinence as the only completely reliable method of avoiding unwanted teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
- An emphasis on the importance of self-control and ethical conduct pertaining to sexual behavior.
- Statistics based on the latest medical information that indicate the degree of reliability and unreliability of various forms of contraception, while also emphasizing the increase in protection against pregnancy and protection against sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV and AIDS infection, which is afforded by the use of various contraceptive measures.
- Information concerning the laws relating to the financial responsibilities associated with pregnancy, childbirth, and child rearing.
- Information concerning the laws prohibiting sexual abuse, the need to report such abuse, and the legal options available to victims of sexual abuse.
- Information on how to cope with and rebuff unwanted physical and verbal sexual exploitation by other persons.
- Psychologically sound methods of resisting unwanted peer pressure.
- An emphasis, in a factual manner and from a public health perspective, that homosexuality is not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public and that homosexual conduct is a criminal offense under the laws of the state.
- Comprehensive instruction in parenting skills and responsibilities, including the responsibility to pay child support by non-custodial parents, the penalties for non-payment of child support, and the legal and ethical responsibilities of child care and child rearing.