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Proposed Texas Health Textbooks Fail to Adequately Cover Contraception

Three health textbooks pending approval in Texas are so focused on abstinence that they fail to cover state-mandated information on contraception and condom use. The books have been granted preliminary approval by a review panel, reports the Houston Chronicle, but critics claim that the books fail to discuss contraceptive methods outside of abstinence. Written testimony by Dr. Steven D. Schafersman of Texas Citizens for Science states that these books present abstinence as the only viable option and do not analyze it in comparison to contraceptive methods, such as condom use, as mandated by state law. The Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills Guidelines mandate that high school health curriculums analyze both abstinence and ‘barrier protection’ as methods for preventing HIV/STIs and pregnancy. According to the Houston Chronicle, one of the proposed textbooks cites getting plenty of rest as one of 10 steps to protect against STIs, but does not mention the use of latex condoms. The publisher, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, claims that material on contraceptives is included in teacher editions and separate supplements that can be handed out to students. A fourth textbook presented by Thomson Delmar Learning did include information on contraceptives, but it was found by the review panel to lack necessary discussions of ‘barrier protection’ versus abstinence, reports the Austin-American Statesman. The Texas Board of Education plans to hear testimony concerning the proposed textbooks on July 14. LEARN MORE Click here to read women’s narratives about barriers or successes in accessing reproductive health and family planning services.

Sources:

Austin-American Statesman 6/30/04; Houston Chronicle 6/29/04; Texas Citizens for Science written testimony 6/25/04; Texas Administrative Code, Title 19, Part II

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