SB 5629

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

C 303 L 09

Synopsis as Enacted

Brief Description: Concerning pregnancy prevention programs.

Sponsors: Senators Kohl-Welles, Keiser, Fairley, Kline, Marr, Prentice, Franklin, Murray, King and Brown.

Senate Committee on Health & Long-Term Care

House Committee on Health Care & Wellness

Background: In 2007 Washington State passed legislation requiring every public school that offers sexual health education to assure that it is medically and scientifically accurate; age appropriate; appropriate for students regardless of gender, race, disability status, or sexual orientation; and that it includes information about abstinence and other methods of preventing unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. The law further requires that abstinence may not be taught to the exclusion of other materials, including on contraceptives and disease prevention.

Since 1996 the federal government has offered states funding for abstinence education programs for adolescents. In recent years, the federal rules included an eight-part definition of what could qualify as abstinence education. Current state law requires the Department of Health to seek federal funding for these programs; however, following the enactment of our law mandating medically accurate and scientifically accurate education, it was the department's position that meeting federal guidelines for abstinence education funding was in conflict with new state law and policy.

Summary: The state is not required to maximize federal funding for abstinence programs and to contract with entities qualified to provide this education.

State agencies may apply for sexual health education funding for programs that are medically and scientifically accurate, including but not limited to programs on abstinence, prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, and the prevention of unintended pregnancies. These programs must be evidence-based, use state funds cost-effectively, maximize use of federal funds, and be consistent with the state's health youth act.

The state has a goal of reducing the rate of abortions.

Votes on Final Passage:







(House amended)




(Senate concurred)

Effective: July 26, 2009