As Texas lawmakers consider legislation — Senate Bill 521 — that would make it harder for public schools to teach responsible sex education, we thought it was worth pointing out what Texans think. After all, this is an important issue in a state with the fourth-highest teen birth rate in the nation.
The Texas Freedom Network Education Fund’s February statewide poll of registered voters makes the public’s verdict pretty clear. By a margin of 84-15 percent, registered voters support teaching high school students about birth control as well as the importance of abstinence in sex education classes. (Click on the table for a larger version.)
Support for responsible sex education is overwhelming in every major demographic category: among white and minority voters; among men and women; among Democrats, Republicans and independents; and among Protestants, Catholics, regular church-goers and “born again” Christians.
Religious-right pressure groups and abstinence-only activists make the issue controversial at the Capitol. They are determined to make it even more so by dragging sex education and public schools into the abortion wars. The Senate Education Committee’s public hearing on SB 521 made that clear.
But for most Texans, responsible sex education is simply common sense.