Skip to comments.Unlikely group teams up on sex education
Posted on 01/14/2010 2:11:15 PM PST by Colofornian
Talk about odd bedfellows.
An unlikely group of lawmakers and organizations has come together to pitch a bill this session to change sex education in Utah. It's a bill that has a Republican senator, a Democratic representative, the Planned Parenthood Action Council (PPAC) and the state PTA working together.
"It's just turned into the most amazing process where people are working together on both sides of the aisle to make sure we're doing whatever we can to make sure our kids have information to keep them safe," said Melissa Bird, executive director of PPAC.
Now, state law allows educators to teach students about contraceptives, but it prohibits "advocacy or encouragement" of their use, leading some educators to avoid the topic out of fear of accidentally crossing the line. Sen. Stephen Urquhart's bill, now in draft form, would remove that prohibition and instead require teachers to talk about the limitations and benefits of contraceptives and the importance of parental guidance in such matters.
The bill would still prohibit advocacy of homosexuality, advocacy of sexual activity outside marriage, instruction in the intricacies of intercourse and explicit demonstrations of contraceptive devices.
It would also require the State Board of Education to select instructional materials about contraception for districts to use. Urquhart, R-St. George, said the State Office of Education could possibly create a video or presentation for teachers to show students. Parents would still be allowed to opt their children out of the lesson. Urquhart said he would also likely allow districts to opt out if they don't want to teach about contraception.
"We clearly have kids in Utah engaging in risky sexual behavior," said Urquhart. "You look at our disease rates, our pregnancy rates ... we have risky behavior that is in need of some greater understanding, appreciation and prevention."
Between 2004 and 2008 in Utah, chlamydia rates rose by 38 percent in adolescent girls and by 66 percent in adolescent boys. And in 2008, more than 18 of every 1,000 girls ages 15 to 17 had a baby, according to the Utah Department of Health. Nationwide, one in three ninth-graders has had sexual intercourse at least once, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Urquhart has been working on the bill for months with the PTA, PPAC, Rep. Lynn Hemingway, D-Holladay and others.
Hemingway introduced a similar bill last session that also would have removed the language about "advocacy and encouragement" of contraceptives, but that bill died in committee after opposition from the PTA and others.
But Liz Zentner, state PTA health commissioner, said she hopes the PTA can get behind this bill. The PTA's legislative action committee hasn't yet taken an official stance on the bill but will meet later this month.
"The whole thing I like about this bill is the emphasis on abstinence and the language he put in there about parents being the principal sex educators of their children," Zentner said. "You can't just take away the prohibition on [encouraging] contraceptives without adding all this other stuff in there, and this is doing that."
The PTA also had concerns with an earlier version of the bill that proposed splitting sex education into two tracks: one that was abstinence-only and another that was more comprehensive. Zentner said she worried the first track would be too restrictive and the second track not restrictive enough. But Urquhart abandoned that idea after school districts and educators expressed concern over the logistical difficulties of offering two tracks.
Hemingway, who had been working on the two-track bill, said the new bill is a good solution. Hemingway said he will be the House floor sponsor of Urquhart's bill.
Urquhart said the various groups and individuals involved in creating his bill had "fantastic conversations" in reaching agreement.
"I think the glue there is everyone realizes we're having problems in the state with risky sexual behavior," Urquhart said. "That's what's bringing people to the table and keeping people at the table."
From the article: "It's just turned into the most amazing process where people are working together on both sides of the aisle to make sure we're doing whatever we can to make sure our kids have information to keep them safe," said Melissa Bird, executive director of PPAC. [That's the director of Planned Parenthood]
From the article: ...state law allows educators to teach students about contraceptives, but it prohibits "advocacy or encouragement" of their use, leading some educators to avoid the topic out of fear of accidentally crossing the line. Sen. Stephen Urquhart's bill, now in draft form, would remove that prohibition...
From the article: Urquhart has been working on the bill for months with the PTA, PPAC, Rep. Lynn Hemingway, D-Holladay and others...Urquhart said the various groups and individuals involved in creating his bill had "fantastic conversations" in reaching agreement.
Gee, with Republican legislators like this (represents St. George, UT) -- and one who has "an honors degree in law from Brigham Young University" (source: www.dixie.edu/pr/archive/archive2006.htm+Urquhart+st.+george+lds&cd=41&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us) -- who needs Democrat/Republican officeholder distinctions? Another Republican Planned Parenthood coalition type?
From the article: The PTA also had concerns with an earlier version of the bill that proposed splitting sex education into two tracks: one that was abstinence-only and another that was more comprehensive. Zentner said she worried the first track would be too restrictive...
What? Abstinence-only "too restrictive" for kids?
WTH? islamic fascist groups and now planned parenthood......WOW
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First the Muslims, now Planned Parenthood (abortion central)!?!?!
Wow, things HAVE changed since I was LDS.
"All of this should be conveyed without having priesthood leaders focus upon intimate matters which are a part of husband and wife relationships. Skillful interviewing and counseling can occur without discussion of clinical details by placing firm responsibility on individual members of the Church to put their lives in order before exercising the privilege of entering a house of the Lord. The First Presidency has interpreted oral sex as constituting an unnatural, impure, or unholy practice. If a person is engaged in a practice which troubles him enough to ask about it, he should discontinue it."
- Official Declaration of the First Presidency of the Church, January 5th, 1982
"Prophets anciently and today condemn masturbation. It induces feelings of guilt and shame. It is detrimental to spirituality. It indicates slavery to the flesh, not that mastery of it and the growth toward godhood which is the object of our mortal life. Our modern prophet has indicated that no young man should be called on a mission who is not free from this practice. What is more, it too often leads to grievous sin, even to that sin against nature, homosexuality. For, done in private, it evolves often into mutual masturbation-practiced with another person of the same sex and thence into total homosexuality...."
- Prophet Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, Pages 77-79, 81-82
"Among the most common sexual sins our young people commit are necking and petting. Not only do these improper relations often lead to fornication, [unwed] pregnancy, and abortions - all ugly sins - but in and of themselves they are pernicious evils, and it is often difficult for youth to distinguish where one ends and another begins. They awaken lust and stir evil thoughts and sex desires. They are but parts of the whole family of related sins and indiscretions. Almost like twins, 'petting' and fornication are alike."
- Prophet Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, page 65
"Also far-reaching is the effect of the loss of chastity. Once given or taken or stolen it can never be regained. Even in a forced contact such as rape or incest, the injured one is greatly outraged. If she has not cooperated and contributed to the foul deed, she is of course in a more favorable position. There is no condemnation where there is no voluntary participation. It is better to die in defending one's virtue than to live having lost it without a struggle."
- Prophet Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, page 196
"And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth." (Genesis 4:9-14.) That was true of murder. It is also true of illicit sex, which, of course, includes all petting, fornication, adultery, homosexual acts, and all other perversions. The Lord may say to offenders, as He did to Cain, "What hast thou done?" The children thus conceived make damning charges against you; the companions who have been frustrated and violated condemn you; the body that has been defiled cries out against you; the spirit which has been dwarfed convicts you. You will have difficulty throughout the ages in totally forgiving yourself."
-Prophet Spencer W. Kimball, "Love Versus Lust", BYU Speech January 5, 1965. Often-used quote still used today in LDS seminary classes.
"I do not find in the Bible the modern terms "petting" nor "homosexuality," yet I found numerous scriptures which forbade such acts under by whatever names they might be called. I could not find the term "homosexuality," but I did find numerous places where the Lord condemned such a practice with such vigor that even the death penalty was assessed."
- Apostle Spencer W. Kimball, "Love Versus Lust", BYU Speech January 5, 1965
"If adultery or fornication justified the death penalty in the old days, and still in Christ's day, is the sin any less today because the laws of the land do not assess the death penalty for it? Is the act less grievous? There must be a washing, a purging, a changing of attitudes, a correcting of appraisals, a strengthening toward self-mastery. There must be many prayers, and volumes of tears. There must be an inner conviction giving to the sin its full diabolical weight. There must be increased devotion and much thought and study. And this takes energy and time and often is accompanied with sore embarrassment, heavy deprivations and deep trials, even if indeed one is not excommunicated from the Church, losing all spiritual blessings."
-Prophet Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, Page 155
"How like the mistletoe is immorality. The killer plant starts with a sticky sweet berry. Little indiscretions are the berries -- indiscretions like sex thoughts sex discussions, passionate kissing, pornography. The leaves and little twigs are masturbation and necking and such, growing with every exercise. The full-grown plant is petting and sex looseness. It confounds, frustrates, and destroys like the parasite if it is not cut out and destroyed, for, in time it robs the tree, bleeds its life, and leaves it barren and dry; and, strangely enough, the parasite dies with its host."
- Apostle Spencer W. Kimball, General Conference Address, April 1, 1967.