House Approves Comprehensive Sexual Education Legislation

(Feb. 19) – The House gave final approval for Rep. Susan Lontine and Rep. Yadira Caraveo’s bill to expand the content in the comprehensive sexual education that many students in Colorado already receive. This bill does not require schools to teach sex education, however, existing law requires that if they do provide sex education it must be comprehensive. The bill adds consent, defining a healthy relationship, and sexual orientation to the current standards.

“Colorado’s students deserve access to age-appropriate, accurate and comprehensive information regarding sex education to keep themselves and their classmates healthy and safe,” said Rep. Lontine, D-Denver. “This bill is also about teaching our students that not everyone is exactly the way you are and that’s okay because every Coloradan should be allowed to live our authentic lives.”

Colorado does not have a mandatory sex education requirement. Existing law does provide a set of standards if schools decide to teach about sex education. This bill would increase the ranges of topics to include birth control and pregnancy, abstinence, STD prevention, consent, healthy relationships and sexual orientation.

“As a doctor in a clinic, I only have the ability to affect one child and one life at a time,” said Rep. Yadira Caraveo. “Schools have the ability to improve the health of hundreds of kids at a time through the ability to provide comprehensive sex ed that will prevent countless young people from facing life altering illnesses or unplanned pregnancies.”

Some of the common misconceptions about HB19-1032 are around the opt-out options already in place, the content around LGBTQ inclusion, and the definition of a healthy relationship.

Throughout debate on the legislation, House Republicans attempted to sabotage this bill on the floor by introducing a number of politically charged amendments that would have gutted the bill and reflected how out-of-step they are with everyday Coloradans and students.

This bill would also allocate $1 million in funds to an existing grant program administered by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for teaching comprehensive sex education. Rural schools and public schools that do not have the resources to offer sex education will be prioritized for receiving this grant money.

HB19-1032 was approved by a vote of 39-23 and now heads to the Senate where it is sponsored by Sen. Nancy Todd, D-Aurora and Sen. Don Coram, R-Montrose.

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