HRC Urges Adoption Of Satcher Report Which Is A Responsible, Realistic And Scientifically-Based Approach To Sex Education

On June 28th The Human Rights Campaign endorsed the key findings in

Surgeon General David Satcher’s comprehensive report on sex education and

urged our nation’s leaders to let science guide our public policy. The Bush

administration should promptly adopt many of the report’s sound guidelines

and make them a standard part of national discussions on public health, says


“Two years of scientific research has resulted in a highly

scientific report by the nation’s top doctor that will save lives,” said HRC

Political Director Winnie Stachelberg. “We urge the administration to

immediately adopt the more science-based guidelines and let them serve as a

policy roadmap for improving public health in America.”

The report, “The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Sexual

Health and Responsible Behavior,” calls on America to respect “the diversity

of sexual values within any community” and recommends a “mature and

thoughtful discussion about sexuality.” It advises that sex education begin

early, be wide-ranging and available throughout one’s life.

The report says there is no evidence that “abstinence-only” programs

are effective and that curriculum should explain how to prevent unwanted

pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. Improving access to

reproductive health care services for “all persons in the community” is

recommended. Additionally, the report discusses the consequences of

harassment on the mental health of gays and lesbians and says there is no

scientific evidence that one’s sexual orientation can be changed.

“In their extreme form, anti-homosexual attitudes lead to anti-gay

violence,” the report says. “Averaged over two dozen studies, 80 percent of

gay men and lesbians had experienced verbal or physical harassment on the

basis of sexual orientation, 45 percent had been threatened by violence and

17 percent had experienced physical attack.”

Improved medicine has allowed people with HIV to live longer and healthier

lives. But 40,000 new infections are reported each year – and half of them

occur in people under age 25. About 750,000 HIV/AIDS cases have been

reported in America since the discovery of the disease and nearly 450,000

people have died from HIV/AIDS-related illnesses.

“These are welcome recommendations because if we do not begin to talk openly

and honestly, a new generation will be at risk,” said Stachelberg. “Too many

young people think recent advances in HIV fighting drugs mean the epidemic

is over. This report will help teach these young Americans the dangers of

diseases such as HIV and ways to prevent contracting them.”

Satcher’s report also includes a wide-array of recommendations to

improve public health including:

  • Providing adequate training in sexual health for health care


  • Ensuring the availability of programs that aim to prevent sexual


  • Stressing the value and benefits of remaining abstinent until

    involved in a committed, enduring and mutually monogamous relationship.

  • Developing and disseminating – for use by parents, clergy and

    teachers – educational materials for sex-ed classes that cover the “full

    continuum of human sexual development”.

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