Late last week, Republican Governor Gary Herbert (UT) vetoed a bill that would have mandated that public schools teach only abstinence only education, prohibiting the teaching of comprehensive sex education. The bill would have also banned teachers from discussing contraceptives or premarital sex in their classrooms.
Governor Herbert indicated that while he believes abstinence should be emphasized in public school classrooms, the bill “goes too far by constricting parental options.” He stated, “If HB 363 were to become law, parents would no longer have the option the overwhelming majority is currently choosing for their children. I am unwilling to conclude that the state knows better than Utah’s parents as to what is best for their children.” Prior to Governor Herbert’s veto, 30,000 were collected in opposition to the bill. The Utah Parent Teacher Association and the Utah Education Association also opposed the bill.
Comprehensive family planning services, like those funded by Title X, are based in science and are medically necessary. The federal government has wasted hundreds of millions of dollars since 1996 on abstinence-only education programs, which have proven ineffective at preventing unplanned pregnancy and the spread of STIs.
National Partnership for Women and Families 3/20/12; State Ed Watch 3/19/12; Feminist Daily Newswire 11/3/11