After 10 hours of debate, the Colorado House Health and Insurance Committee voted to advance House Bill 19-1032, a comprehensive sex education bill. The bill allocates $1 million in existing money to fund comprehensive sex education with a special emphasis on rural and underfunded public schools. The bill also requires schools to teach students about consent, healthy relationships, birth control, and LGBTQ inclusion.
In an interview with the Denver Channel, Rep. Lontine said the bill is meant to promote youth wellness and encourage acceptance of all lifestyles in an effort to end bullying. For this reason, the bill requires teachers to educate students about healthy relationships and consent. Districts that teach sex-ed must include lessons on how consent is given and revoked. Lontine’s bill references a study that says 18.5% of LGBTQ children in Colorado reported being “physically forced to have sexual intercourse against their will.”
Despite what opponents have been saying, the bill does not require all schools to teach comprehensive sex ed. Rather; all schools that choose to teach sex-ed must teach comprehensive sex ed.
In 2017, the Colorado Department of Public Health reported the highest rates for syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. According to the 2017 Healthy Kids Survey, 50% of Colorado teens have engaged in some sort of sexual activity. Abstinence-only sex education doesn’t prevent teens from having sex; it prevents teens from having safe sex.
The bill now moves to the Democratic-controlled House Appropriations Committee, where it will most likely pass.
Media Resources: The Denver Channel 2/8/18, 1/30/19, 1/31/19; Denver Post 1/30/19, 2/1/19; Greeley Tribune 1/31/19; Colorado Public Radio 1/31/19