The Legislature gave final passage Tuesday to a bill that would let schools skip teaching sex education and prohibit instruction in the use of contraception.
Senate debate over HB363 was relatively short Tuesday afternoon before senators passed it 19-10. In the end, many senators felt schools shouldn’t teach the subject.
“To replace the parent in the school setting, among people who we have no idea what their morals are, we have no ideas what their values are, yet we turn our children over to them to instruct them in the most sensitive sexual activities in their lives, I think is wrongheaded,” said Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Ogden.
A number of lawmakers, all Democrats, rose to speak against the bill Tuesday and ask questions. But Senate bill sponsor Sen. Margaret Datyon, R-Orem, refused to answer questions about the bill, saying “I think everybody basically knows where they are on this issue. Obviously, the senators may speak, but I don’t know that it’s going to be beneficial for me to try to debate or answer questions.”
Sen. Luz Robles, D-Salt Lake City, said lawmakers often talk about wanting to keep government out of people’s lives, yet she said the bill would take away parental choice.
Sen. Pat Jones, D-Holladay, called the bill “a mandate against reality,” as parents already have the option of keeping their kids out of sex ed. Relatively few parents make that choice.
Now, parents must opt their children into sex education classes if they want them to participate, and districts may already choose to teach abstinence only. Under the bill, however, districts may choose not to teach the topic at all, or, if they do teach it, they must teach abstinence only.
Source: Salt Lake Tribune | Lisa Schencker