Every so often it seems like Utah has booked a ride on the progressive train, but then you realize they bought a round-trip ticket. Case in point:
A bill to require sex education classes teach an abstinence-only curriculum inched closer to becoming a law in Utah last week. The bill--now headed to the Senate--would lift the current requirement that all public schools teach sex ed in grades 8 through 12, but if this bill passes, districts would have to choose between offering abstinence-only sex-ed classes, or no sex-ed classes at all.
Republican state wingnut, and Republican, of course, Bill Wright sponsored the proposal: "We've been culturally watered down to think we have to teach about sex, about having sex and how to get away with it, which is intellectually dishonest. Why don't we just be honest with them upfront that sex outside marriage is devastating?"
Well, Billy, teach your abstinence-only classes, and find out how many kids will then be having unprotected sex. or, teach no sex-ed at all, and discover how many pregnant teens you have in the state and how many teens have an STD or HIV.
Abstinence-only does not work. It needs to be coupled with education on protection from unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.
The version of the bill that passed last Wednesday would also prohibit any instruction in contraception, though teachers would be allowed to answer student questions about safe sex. In addition, the bill would require that sex-ed courses emphasize abstinence before marriage and fidelity after.
You know, 'cuz no one has ever had sex before marriage and no was has ever cheated after; not in the entire history of the world.
But Wright doesn't stop there; his sex-ed classes, while teaching abstinence only, would also talk about friendship, dating and love, kittens and bunnies. And, he says he wants this bill to pass because he believes that abstinence would lead to lower poverty rates. You know, it's only the poor folk having babies outside of marriage.
Damn them po' people.
Cooler heads, and smarter folks, like Democratic state Representative Carol Spackman say abstinence can't be taught without discussions of contraceptive failures and protecting yourself from sexually transmitted diseases. And even one Republican, Representaive Francis Gibson says that in the school district he represents, the abstinence-only curriculum is not proving effective, as more teens are becoming parents of unplanned children.
Here's the deal: in a perfect world abstinence is the only 100% effective protection from unwanted pregnancy, or sexually transmitted diseases. But, news flash, we do not live in a perfect world. Education, and all manner of choices are needed for teens, and adults, to make responsible sexual choices for themselves.
Utah really needs to get off the train and stay in Progressive Town.
via The HuffPo