The Responsible Education About Life Act, known as the REAL Act, was reintroduced on March 17 by Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., and Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J. This bill would designate federal funding for comprehensive sex education programs, rather than those that simply stress abstinence only.
In a press statement Lee said, "It's time for us to get REAL about sex education. We should absolutely be teaching young people about abstinence, but we shouldn't be holding back information that can save lives and prevent unwanted pregnancies. Instead of 'abstinence only.' what we're proposing is 'abstinence-plus.'"
The National Center for Health Statistics recently released information that showed teen pregnancy rates have increased for the second year in a row.
According to WebMD Health News, the rate increased by 1 percent in 2007 to 42.5 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data in January, showing that sexually transmitted infections of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis have increased, especially among young adult women and youth.
Health advocates are worried that abstinence-only programs were emphasized, efforts to curtail teenage pregnancies came to an apparent standstill. Congress has reduced the funds for abstinence-only sex education programs (so popular during the Bush years), since the November election. President Obama co-sponsored the REAL Act, as a senator. Support for comprehensive sex education has increased on a political level.