When Rep. Bill Wright, R-Holden, presented his no-sex-education bill, House Bill 363, he said, “We teach that 2 plus 2 equals 4; we don’t teach alternatives.” There is no alternative to 2 plus 2 equals 4; however, there are certainly alternatives to abstinence-only sex education.
With all due respect to a student’s individual or family values, sex education should be a fundamental part of the public school health education curriculum. The Utah PTA supports this belief, and it opposes HB363.
The Legislature and its most ardent lobbyists — the Utah Eagle Forum and the Sutherland Institute — prefer a head-in-the-sand approach to sex education, but Utah’s statistically high rates of teen pregnancy and teen sexually transmitted diseases show that that approach has been less than effective.
There is no proof that sex education knowledge makes youth more likely to be sexually active; in fact, some studies show the opposite. The false notion that you shield youth from sexual curiosity by denying sex education in schools is not only ignorant but irresponsible. It will lead them to “learn” from less-reliable sources.
I would rather arm my children with accurate and comprehensive information to help them make good, safe and informed choices.
© 2012 The Salt Lake Tribune