I'm an obstetrician-gynecologist of 20+ years and a mom of 2 young adults who went through the Massachusetts public school system. I have cared for many young people in my career and have been disappointed by how woefully unprepared they often are with regards to the sex and relationship education that they have received in our school systems. I am often doing a great deal of teaching in my practice regarding normal anatomy and reproductive functions of their bodies, changes at the time of puberty, the importance of consent, recognizing and preventing abuse and dating violence, and how to prevent STIs and pregnancy. I have been astonished and disappointed by the knowledge gaps that I often find in caring for my patients, many of whom I have treated because of the consequences of these knowledge gaps. I have also been disappointed to hear of my own children's experience with sex education in public school, which seems to me to be very much fear-based, instead of encouraging and teaching young people how to develop healthy and happy relationships as they progress to adulthood. It benefits all of us when young people are knowledgeable regarding how to have healthy relationships and we can avoid the undue burden that results from preventable problems such as STIs and unwanted teen pregnancies. I hope that we can all agree that passing the Healthy Youth Act is a win-win for all.
-Kirti, Gynecologist, UMass Memorial Healthcare