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California Healthy Youth Act

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The San Joaquin Valley is home to some of the California's highest rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. As part of a series on sex education and teen pregnancy, The Fresno Bee found out what some women wished they would have learned about sex when they were younger.
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The neighborhood a child grows up in may be the biggest contributor to teen pregnancy rates. And one way to reduce the number of teen pregnancies is to provide structure, like after-school activities, to teens in needy neighborhoods.
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Before the California Healthy Youth Act went into effect last year, Fresno Unified was one of a few school districts that didn’t teach comprehensive sex education and pushback against such lessons remains.
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While U.S. teen birth rates have continued to decrease across all races and ethnicities, disparities persist. In 2014, nearly 75 percent of the teen births in Fresno County California were to Hispanic mothers.
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Research has shown that sex education results in fewer teen pregnancies, but in California's politically conservative San Joaquin Valley, there is a history of strong push-back against sex ed.
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Graciela Pacheco's teachers never taught her about sex. She learned most of what she knows from her next-door neighbor — a 15-year-old boy she met when she was 12 — who would become the father of her child.
Picture of Mackenzie Mays
For years, some school districts in California's Central Valley have been reluctant to teach comprehensive sex education. Worse, the valley's pregnancy and STD rates are some of the state's highest.

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