It’s very important that supporters of responsible, medically accurate sex education in public schools keep calling their Texas House members. Texas Freedom Network is sending out the following Action Alert:
Far-right pressure groups – like James Dobson’s Focus on the Family affiliate in Texas – have launched a “fear and smear” campaign against proposals to help ensure teens learn medically accurate information on responsible pregnancy and disease prevention. That campaign has already led the Texas House to postpone action until Wednesday on Senate Bill 283. The bill would strengthen the role of School Health Advisory Councils in developing policies on health education in local school districts.
Why would anyone oppose common-sense amendments to that bill requiring schools to teach medically accurate information, inform parents about what those schools are teaching students and ensure effective community input on sex education policies?
The answer is simple: lobbyists for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs are basing their opposition on ideology, not facts. Here are just some of the lies lawmakers are hearing: the amendments would “outlaw abstinence-only sex ed,” “censor information” about contraceptive failure rates and “promote recreational and gay sex.” These blatant falsehoods are outrageous!
We Need Your Help!
Don’t let far-right groups pressure lawmakers into backing down on ensuring that Texas teens get the medically accurate information they need to make important life decisions and protect themselves from pregnancy and disease. It’s critical that you TAKE ACTION to counter the far right’s reckless and dishonest campaign.
Contact your Texas House representative and ask him or her to support these amendments to SB 283:
Support the amendment by Rep. Joaquin Castro to require that sex education be medically accurate according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians.
- Fact: 41% of Texas school districts teach factually incorrect information in sexuality education instruction.
Support the amendment by Rep. Michael Villarreal to prevent materials that wildly exaggerate failure rates to discourage condom and contraceptive use by people who are sexually active.
- Fact: 40% of Texas school districts include medically inaccurate information that discourages young people from making responsible decisions to prevent pregnancy and disease.
Support the amendment by Rep. Mark Strama to require school districts to provide parents with written notice about the content of the district’s human sexuality instruction. Don’t parents have a right to know?
- Fact: Polls have shown that up to 90% of Texans want abstinence-plus information about contraception and disease prevention included in sexuality education, but 96% of Texas schools don’t provide that information.
Support the amendment by Rep. Joaquin Castro to require School Health Advisory Councils (SHACs) to have at least 5 members. Isn’t community input important?
- Fact: 81% of school districts surveyed in 2008 could not produce any SHAC recommendation on sexuality education instruction despite the fact that the law requires SHACs to provide community and parental input in district decisions regarding human sexuality instruction.
You can find the name and contact information for your House representative here. Tell your representative that Texas ranks third in teen births, first in multiple births to teens, and that the teen birth rate is rising. Having a baby is the top reason teen girls drop out of school. And teen pregnancy cost Texas taxpayers $1 billion in 2004. Public schools should emphasize the importance of abstinence AND tell students the truth about how to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Please contact the TFN outreach office at [email protected] to let us know that you have taken action so that we can track our progress.