Ray Ward’s H.B. 12 is a bill attempting to bridge the gap in healthcare for poor women and families across the state by providing family planning services and sexual education to reach those most in need. The bill establishes a 4-year pilot program that would offer family planning education, advocacy, and counseling for low-income Utah families. In addition, this program would also offer sexual health education to the poor potentially reducing the number of unplanned pregnancies by educating residents on proper contraceptive practices, etc.
The need for this access to educational and practical services in our state is enormous. We are still an abstinence-centric sexual education state, meaning many of our residents are growing up with little to no education on how to safely and effectively utilize contraceptives to plan for their futures. Poor women in Utah are 5 times more likely than their affluent counterparts to experience unplanned pregnancies and 31.8% of all births in Utah are the result of an unplanned pregnancy.
H.B. 12 provides access to family planning services for those who could not otherwise afford them and addresses the issue of unplanned pregnancy and sexual education in our state head on.