The Right’s Distortions on Sex Education

Montanans are seeing a classic right-wing distortion campaign on sex education — much like we saw during the 2009 legislative session in Austin. You will recall that last year right-wing opponents in Texas screamed that medically accurate, evidence-based sex education would “promote recreational and gay sex.” Unfortunately, absurd scare tactics like that cowed enough lawmakers to kill legislation that would have improved the dismal state of sex education in Texas. Remember that a teen gets pregnant every ten minutes in Texas — a state with one of the nation’s highest teen birthrates even as more than 9 in 10 school districts teach no medically accurate information on contraception and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.

Now look at Montana. A bill introduced in the that state’s legislature would direct state education officials to provide additional sex education resources to school districts that request them. Seems reasonable, right? The state’s Office of Public Instruction has explained that this legislation would not mandate any specific kind of sex education. Indeed, the state’s Constitution forbids legislators from dictating the details of any kind of school curriculum.

So how is this modest proposal being treated by Montana’s Republican Party? A state party press release claimed that a specific sex education proposal under review by public school officials in Helena (the state capital) would provide “graphic, explicit” sex education, with the state GOP chair calling the proposed curriculum “extremist indoctrination.” Helena education officials say the proposed abstinence-based sex education policy has been grossly mischaracterized by opponents who want an abstinence-only program instead. (Sounds familiar, yes?) In any case, decisions about specific sex education curricula would remain, constitutionally, a local responsibility throughout the state. Yet the Montana GOP argues that the Helena curriculum “could spread to the rest of the state” unless Republicans win a majority in the 2011 state legislature.

That’s how the right distorts the debate over sex education, whether in Montana or in Texas. But you can help stop these distortions.

With the 2010 general election nearing, we urge Texans to ask candidates for public office what position they take on sex education. A statewide poll conducted for the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund in May found that 80 percent of likely voters in Texas agree that high school classes on sex education should teach “about contraception, such as condoms and other birth control, along with abstinence.” Clearly, for most Texans arming young people with the information they need to protect themselves from unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases is just common sense. But do candidates for the State Board of Education, the Legislature and statewide office think keeping teens ignorant is the solution to the problem of teen pregnancy? Let’s find out.

3 thoughts on “The Right’s Distortions on Sex Education

  1. What’s so sad is that those cabin-fever, stir-crazy lonely, bored-sh*tless Montanans are probably leading the nation in internet porn viewing. But they don’t want their kids to get responsible education to get their lives off to a good start.

  2. One of the fine human beings from the Family Research Council (an offshoot of James Dobson’s Focus on Family) weighed in on this last week. He said that teaching comprehensive sex education in Montana, including a brief mention that there are boys that like boys instead of girls, would lead some straight males into the homosexual lifestyle. Of course there is nor has there ever been any evidence to support this assertion but ignoring factual information is part and parcel of fear mongering.

    David since you mentioned porn… 2008 James Dobson said he wouldn’t support Mitt Romney because Romney’s investment group owns a chain of hotels that has adult movies available on a pay-per-view basis in the rooms. That was just an excuse though, the real reason he wouldn’t support Romney is because Mitt is a Mormon. And the religious right hates Mormons, they hate them almost as much as they hate Planned Parenthood. Just like Jesus taught them.

    And then last year Dobson was traveling in the northeast and was booked into a Romney-owned hotel. Dobson showed up late in the evening with a group of underlings, checked in and obtained his room key card. As he was turning to head for the elevator the desk clerk asked “is there else I can help you with sir?” Dobson, being a jerk and wanting to show off for his minions, said testily “I am a nationally respected Christian leader so I certainly hope the pornography channel in my room is disabled.” To which the clerk replied “no, it’s just regular porn you sick son of a b*tch.”

  3. The state of Utah is apparently actually the US leader in porn downloads.

    And speaking of “graphic, explicit” sex education, the travelling abstinence-only sex ed teacher that serves this little West Texas town apparently subscribes to that method. My wife works at the junior high school and tells me that the film fare there includes a lot of what you would associate with World War II training films: genitalia rotting off with untreated syphilis and such. C’mon, folks – antibiotics have been on the market for several years now…..