Oh, Tennessee legislators, you will never learn.
It seems that up in the state of crazy, Governor Bill Haslam has signed legislation that adds the concept of “gateway sexual activity” to the state’s abstinence-first sex education curriculum. The measure says that sex education teachers cannot encourage “gateway” activities that stop short of sexual intercourse.
You know, hand-holding leads to intercourse; a peck on the cheeks winds up with the girl pregnant.
And wingnut Haslam signed the bill over the calls to veto the measure from the American Civil Liberties Union and others, who argued that the bill contains murky definitions that make it difficult for teachers to discuss subjects frankly.
Proponents said the measure was needed to clarify the meaning of abstinence. Um, the meaning of abstinence is “no sex”, right?
I think that’s fairly clear, but apparently legislators in Tennessee don’t get it, don’t think parents understand, and think teenagers are too stupid to think for themselves.
Even worse, Tennessee’s “Gateway Sexual Activity” law will allow parents to actually sue outside sex education instructors, like Planned Parenthood, if they run afoul of the state curriculum. School district instructors are exempt from legal penalties.
Oh, now it becomes clear; this is just another attack on Planned Parenthood by the GOP.
Haslam and the Legislature don’t realize that knowledge is power; they don’t understand that, while abstinence is the only foolproof method of birth control, and of preventing STDs and HIV infections, arming high school students with knowledge is far more powerful.
You cannot just tell students, or even adults, that they cannot do something; you have to arm them with the consequences of what they do, and talk about how they can protect themselves.
This legislation is so 1950s in its thinking, its, for lack of a better word, logic: they will not educate students as to what can happen when they have sex, they will simply ask that the girls keep their legs closed and the boys keep their pants zipped.
Oh, and no kissing. She could get pregnant.