Lawmaker wants to teach more than 'abstinence-only' in school sex education
(KUTV) A Utah lawmaker wants to change the way sex education is taught in schools. House Minority leader Rep. Brian King says it's time to get away from the traditional abstinence-only rule that is being taught in schools.
"Right now it's abstinence only and that's a problem," said King. "Morals are taught at home, but we need the education taught in our schools, we need information that is accurate and is appropriate for the child."
That's why King has introduced HB 246 which he says will allow health teachers to teach a comprehensive sex education course, especially in regards to sexually transmitted diseases.
"Regardless of what we are teaching them or not teaching them, they are going to have sex. They are going to engage in sexual behavior that is risky," said King.
According to the state's Human Sexuality Instruction consent form sent home to parents, teachers are not allowed to teach "demonstrations on how to use condoms or any contraceptive means, method, or devices are prohibited and are not authorized."
But Gayle Ruzicka, the president of the conservative group Utah Eagle Forum, says what is being taught in Utah schools is working.
"What we are doing works best," said Ruzicka. "We have the lowest unwed pregnancies in the nation, the lowest abortion rates, and we have the lowest STD rates in the nation. You don't teach them, 'oh we assume you are having sex, therefore we have to teach you how to have sex.' "
King says his bill allows parents to make the choice.
"If you don't want your kids to be taught this stuff in school, and you're a parent, you don't opt in, but you allow others to opt in."
According to the Centers for Disease Control in 2014, Utah did rank low in STD's among other states, but there is also a large jump in STD's over the last three years. Both King and Ruzicka use these numbers to support their side of the issue.