Dragging Public Schools into the Abortion Wars

Reproductive health care in Texas, including abortion care and access to birth control and family planning services, has been under constant attack in Texas. Now politicians are trying to drag our public schools into the abortion wars.

At least three proposed bills in the current Texas legislative session focus on abortion and public school classrooms.

House Bill 205 by state Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, and Senate Bill 477 by state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, would bar an entity or individual that performs abortions or an affiliate of an entity or individual that performs abortions from providing sex education information to public schools. That this legislation is really directed at Planned Parenthood, which provides effective sex education courses and instructional materials, is hardly a secret.

Leach proposed similar legislation in 2013, although his bill two years ago (which failed to pass) would have also required schools to get prior permission from parents before allowing their children to attend any sex education class. HB 205 this year doesn’t include that provision. (Parents already have the right to keep their children out of sex education classes.) But the new bill still has the state dictating to local school districts rules they must follow on sex education, regardless of what school board members and parents in those communities want. (This is another case, of course, of state lawmakers who claim to support local control — until they don’t.)

Another bill this session, House Bill 1218 by state Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake, would require sex education classes to teach students that “life begins at conception.”

Current state law already requires doctors to lie to women seeking abortion care by telling them things that aren’t supported by medical research and facts, such as that abortion is supposedly linked to breast cancer. (The American Cancer Society makes it clear that this is not true: “At this time, the scientific evidence does not support the notion that abortion of any kind raises the risk of breast cancer or any other type of cancer.”) Now Rep. Capriglione wants public school to teach students other anti-abortion propaganda as fact.