UPDATE: The House has postponed action on SB 283 until Wednesday. Keep up your calls and e-mails to House offices in support of responsible sex education.
Having made a fetish out of failed abstinence-only programs that lie to students, far-right pressure groups are also lying directly to voters. Texans for Life Coalition has sent out an e-mail blast that employs more lies in its reckless campaign to keep teens ignorant. The group includes ridiculous claims that amendments under consideration in the Texas House today would “outlaw abstinence-only sex ed,” “censor information about limitations of condoms and contraception,” “promote birth control as a health benefit,” “refer students to Planned Parenthood,” and “promote recreational and gay sex.” (If all else fails, drag homosexuality into it, right? You can almost feel the hate from these people.)
Such nonsense. We told you yesterday what the amendments would do. They would require that information taught about human sexuality and pregnancy and disease prevention be medically accurate. Abstinence-only programs would no longer be able to exaggerate failure rates of condoms and other forms of contraception to discourage their use. School districts would be required to tell parents what they’re actually teaching about human sexuality. And local School Health Advisory Councils would have to be structured to provide local community and parental input on health education issues in school districts.
Now it’s up to you.
Click here to find the name and contact information for your House member. Then ask your representative to support the amendments to SB 283 by Reps. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio; Michael Villarreal, D-San Antonio; and Mark Strama, D-Austin. Click here to read key information about each amendment.
The rate of teen pregnancy in Texas is among the highest in the nation, yet this state has received more federal abstinence-only funding than any other. In the face of this epidemic of teen pregnancy and soaring rates of sexually transmitted diseases, more than 9 in 10 school districts teach nothing about pregnancy and disease prevention except abstinence-only-until-marriage. And abstinence-only programs are plagued with gross factual errors, lies and stereotypes. This nonsense can’t continue. Ignorance and lies won’t protect our kids.
EARLIER UPDATE: Now the Plano-based Free Market Foundation Focus on the Family-Texas is attacking the amendments, claiming that they would require “so-called ‘medically accurate’ information.” “This determination is left to persons who have an agenda,” they say. Actually, the amendment on medically accurate information lists seven agencies and professional organizations for verifying information: the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Public Health Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Infectious Diseases Societyof America and the American Psychological Association. They do have an agenda, of course: keeping Americans healthy.
The lies from far-right pressure groups continue to pile up, don’t they? They threw truth out the window long ago.