TFN President Criticizes Failure of House to Require Medically Accurate Information in Sex Ed Classes
House Bows to ‘Fear and Smear’ Campaign
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 20, 2009
Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller decried today’s failure by the Texas House to require that public schools teach only medically accurate information in sex education classes.
An amendment requiring that information in sex ed classes be medically accurate was blocked by a point of order claiming that the measure was not germane to Senate Bill 283. Yet SB 283 sets meeting and reporting requirements for School Health Advisory Councils, which advise local school boards and administrators on health education instruction, including sex education. Moreover, the House had just unanimously passed an amendment to the same bill requiring that districts notify parents about the content of sex education instruction in their schools.
“It’s absurd for lawmakers to hide behind parliamentary tactics so they can avoid requiring that students get medically accurate information in their sex education classes,” Miller said. “No wonder a teenager gets pregnant every 10 minutes in Texas. Grownups in the Texas House are scared to even talk about how to prevent it.”
Texas ranks third in the nation in teen births and first in multiple births to teens. The Texas Department of State Health Services reports that a teen in Texas gets pregnant every 10 minutes. (Source: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/famplan/tpp.shtm)
The point of order came after an intense three-day campaign by opponents of the “medically accurate” amendment who instead support abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. Abstinence-only supporters falsely claimed that the amendment would “outlaw abstinence-only ed,” “censor information” about contraceptive failure rates, and “promote recreational and gay sex.”
“What could possibly be wrong with giving our kids medically accurate information from the Centers for Disease Control or the American Academy of Pediatrics instead of discredited ideological diatribes about birth control and disease prevention?” Miller said. “That’s what this amendment would have done. But today we found out that at least in Texas, the same old ‘culture war’ lies and distortions are still enough to stop even discussion about common-sense approaches to ending the epidemic of teen pregnancy and STDs. Today ignorance won out over truth, and Texas teens will pay the price.”
In February the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund released a report from two Texas State University health education professors that showed more than 9 in 10 Texas school districts teach virtually nothing about pregnancy and disease prevention except abstinence until marriage. The study also found factual errors in abstinence/sex education materials from more than 40 percent of districts. The report is available at www.JustSayDontKnow.org.
The Texas Freedom Network is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization of faith and community leaders who support public education, religious freedom and individual liberties.