A bill passed by Republicans in the Utah House of Representatives would effectively ban comprehensive education about human sexuality, forcing schools to teach abstinence or nothing at all.
In all, 45 Republicans voted for state Rep. Bill Wright’s (R) HB363, with 11 Republicans joining the 17 Democrats who opposed it, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
The bill forbids advocating for “the use of contraceptive methods or devices,” sex outside marriage or homosexuality. It also restricts teaching about sexual intercourse or erotic behavior.
Public and charter schools would have the option of developing an abstinence-only curriculum or skipping the discussion of sexuality altogether.
“We’ve been culturally watered down to think we have to teach about sex, about having sex and how to get away with it, which is intellectually dishonest,” Wright said in defense of the bill. “Why don’t we just be honest with them upfront that sex outside marriage is devastating?”
One opponent, state Rep. Carol Spackman Moss (D), called the measure “immoral.”
“You cannot speak of abstinence without talking to students about methods of birth control that are not certain, about protecting oneself from [sexually transmitted diseases] and all the things that can happen in a negative sense to a young person who engages in sex,” she explained. “It’s really immoral not to teach kids about what the consequences are.”
The bill now moves forward for consideration by the Utah Senate.
Watch this video from KSL, broadcast Feb. 23, 2012.