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Utah May Ban Discussion of Contraception

Republicans in the Utah House of Representatives have passed a bill that would prohibit schools from teaching about contraception or safe sex in sex education classes. The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

Over the course of nearly an hour, lawmakers took turns trying to change the bill. Ultimately, the version the House passed would allow school districts to forgo teaching about sex altogether.

Lawmakers also, however, changed the bill on the House floor to prohibit schools that continue to teach sex education from instructing students in “the use of contraceptive methods or devices.” It was a change from the version that passed out of committee earlier this month that would have prohibited “instruction in the advocacy or encouragement of the use of contraceptive methods or devices.”

And the advocates come with the usual crazy:

“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,” said bill sponsor Rep. Bill Wright, R-Holden. “Why don’t we just be honest with them upfront that sex outside marriage is devastating?”

On Planet Wingnuttia, it’s “honest” to withhold information from kids that might save their lives. Brilliant.

Comments

  1. grendelsfather says

    They could try the approach we use down here in Texas, which is summed up in this quote by Butch Hancock, a great singer-song writer:

    “Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me two things: One is that God loves you and you’re going to burn in hell. The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on earth and you should save it for someone you love.”

  2. FlickingYourSwitch says

    But why?

    What on Earth would make anyone believe that ignorance is better than knowledge? And about something so important as contraceptions and safe sex? There are zero benefits, and several negative consequences, and so I have to conclude they are doing this with intent to increase unwanted pregnancies and STD’s. They want unnecessary suffering to increase. But of course, they are Republicans.

    Also, “to get away with [having sex]”? Really? Sex itself is a crime now?

  3. Alverant says

    Because married people NEVER use contraceptives. I wonder how many women voted for this bill since the lack of sex eduaction is linked to higher teen birth rates.

  4. says

    Also, “to get away with [having sex]“? Really? Sex itself is a crime now?

    It’s been a crime for most of American history. We’ve only recently legalized it, and we’re seeing the wingnut backlash because being free and open about sex is creating too much competition with their formerly profitable black market porn industry. Why do you think porn consumption is higher in Republican states? Their forbidden fruit marketing tactic doesn’t work when it’s no longer forbidden.

  5. Randomfactor says

    Like to see them lose a chunk of education funding over this (and I believe they would.) Other states (mine, for instance) would gladly take up the slack.

  6. Phillip IV says

    “Why don’t we just be honest with them upfront that sex outside marriage is devastating?”

    “Devastating”? I think Mr. Wright must be extrapolating from some truly unfortunate experience of his.

    But now that sex ed is about abstinence, what happens to the rest of the Utah curriculum? Will driver’s ed be “walking only”? Will English classes teach French?

  7. abb3w says

    Wait… so, if contraception is about “having sex and how to get away with it”, he considers pregnancy and STDs to be punishment for the crime/sin/offense of having sex?

    I am unable to express my reaction in polite and civil fashion.

  8. d cwilson says

    Wait… so, if contraception is about “having sex and how to get away with it”, he considers pregnancy and STDs to be punishment for the crime/sin/offense of having sex?

    You find that surprising? That’s been a standard wingnut belief for a long time now. Why do you think they’ve been fighting so hard against the HPV vaccine?

  9. baal says

    Rep. Bill Wright, R-Holden. “Why don’t we just be honest with them upfront that sex outside marriage is devastating?”

    I don’t think he’s doing it right.

    If he and his ilk really wanted to reduce teen-pregnancy and STD rates, they’d push effective (not the ‘abstinence only’ lie) sex-ed including contraceptive use.

  10. says

    Why do you think they’ve been fighting so hard against the HPV vaccine?

    In that case, it’s not so much about preventing sex as preventing women from having sex or having control over who they can safely have sex with. If her true love has a risk of spreading the virus, that’s god punishing her for loving him instead of the arranged marriage her parents had in mind.

  11. Homo Straminus says

    “Warned you. Didn’t think it was quite that fast though.”

    Idiot. Congratulations on continuing to string random facts together.

  12. DaveL says

    “Why don’t we just be honest with them upfront that sex outside marriage is devastating?”

    Because it generally isn’t, and they’re eventually going to figure that out, and then they’re going to start thinking we made up the whole “pubic lice” thing, too.

  13. appellategirl says

    It’s really sad that almost all of the crazy policies that other states are about about to adopt are already the law here in Texas. We already have required vaginal ultraounds before abortions. And our public schools (we are in a suburb of Houston) are not allowed to discuss birth control in the so-called “sex education” classes in junior high school. Both of my teenagers reported to me that, when asked about birth control, the teacher responded, “If I answer that question, I will get fired.”

    Stupid, stupid, stupid. We teach our kids skills for adulthood in every other area. We teach them to write checks in fifth grade. Does that mean we expect them to go out and get bank accounts at age 11?

  14. eric says

    Like to see them lose a chunk of education funding over this (and I believe they would.)

    Yes and no. Yes, there is federal funding associated with sex ed that they should lose. But no, ‘a chunk’ it ain’t. I think for small states like Utah its considerably less than a million per state. So, the fed isn’t carrying a very big stick in this fight.

  15. says

    DaveL “Because it generally isn’t, and they’re eventually going to figure that out, and then they’re going to start thinking we made up the whole ‘pubic lice’ thing, too.”
    Ah, but we can keep the horny brats in line with the sex-ed/propaganda movie, Beaver Madness!

  16. says

    I live in the Salt Lake area, and I have been beyond merely angry about this.

    I confess I’m a little befuddled by how people are reacting to this piece of legislation, because it keeps coming out as if we had real sex education that covered contraception before, and that’s simply not true. The previous standards were functionally abstinence only, and parents have to opt-in to sex education, not the other way around:

    Utah State Law and USOE Policy- Utah Administrative Code R277-474

    *Prior written consent must be obtained before including any aspect of contraception in the curriculum. It must be obtained at least two weeks prior to the start of the unit of instruction.
    *Teachers may not teach the advocacy or encouragement of contraceptive methods or devices.

    And when you read the language of the core curriculum standards (currently in effect), it is clear that the intended type of education is abstinence only. The way that non-advocacy has been interpreted tends to come off as only talking about how contraceptive/safer sex methods can fail. I live in a state where pregnant teens have said they’re confused about how they got pregnant (just yesterday, high school age cousin told me about her classmate saying just this.)

    What a lot of people don’t seem to be talking about is the effect this will have on LGBTQ students and that frightens me. Because this is also basically a don’t say gay bill too. If you can’t even teach about sex and sexuality to begin with, what sort of stifling atmosphere are you creating that will prevent adequate reaction to bullying in schools. We’re working our way toward a policy like Anoka-Hennepin’s and I am dreading the first bullying suicide story to break.

  17. raven says

    I live in a state where pregnant teens have said they’re confused about how they got pregnant (just yesterday, high school age cousin told me about her classmate saying just this.)

    Hmmm, don’t they have internet access in Utah? They could look it up on wikipedia. Or talk to their more knowledgable friends about how babies are made.

    LOL. I know Utah well. Nothing the Mormon legislature does surprises me. Most of the people I know there send their kids to private schools because the Mormon influence is pervasive in the public schools which are underfunded and not very good anyway. Even the atheists will send their kids to a Catholic or Episcopalian school.

    We’re working our way toward a policy like Anoka-Hennepin’s and I am dreading the first bullying suicide story to break.

    I’m sure there have been many already. Utah has one of the highest male suicide rates in the 16-25 year age bracket of any state in the USA. No one is quite sure what it means, but many of those dead young men are gay.

  18. says

    @raven,

    I’ve wondered about the internet access thing myself, but there’s always the possibility they’re not allowed private or unsupervised access. Especially if you’re in a family that wouldn’t grant permission for the most basic sex ed. (Yet we pay for more porn than pretty much anywhere else in the country…ah, miserable religious people.)

    And you’ve hit the private schooling right on the nose. I went to Catholic school grades 5-12 and had a phenomenal education, although it was a huge financial burden on my parents. It even included real sex education where not only did you learn about all the commercially available BC methods, but you had to pass a test on them to pass that semester of religion class.

    I think it’s one thing for us to know that many of the suicides are likely the result of anti-gay bullying, but it takes more public recognition to prompt the outrage over pro-bullying climates in schools. Hell, the just the religious discrimination in public schools here can be incredibly nasty. It’s almost impossible to explain the cruel shunning, snubbing and taunting that a non-Mormon kid can experience. And like a lot of kids who finally talk about their bullying experiences, I hid my misery from my parents for years and years.

  19. magistramarla says

    I was the GSA mentor/teacher in a large high school in Texas. I wasn’t allowed to address any issues with the kids, I was just there to supervise. Luckily, our group’s president for two years was a very intelligent and knowledgeable young lesbian.
    She was appalled to find that there were freshman members who knew nothing at all about how AIDS was acquired, nor how to prevent it. She did some research on her own time and produced an excellent power point talk, which she presented to the group. Those young members were very lucky to have her leadership.
    I found it very sad that those students were so ill-prepared, and that it took the bravery of a peer to actually teach them some life-saving information.
    My grandson is currently a student in Texas. His parents looked at the so-called sex-ed curriculum and laughed. They had their own sex-ed discussion with him, and filled in the huge gaps that the school had left. They warned him to be careful about sharing his new-found information with peers, and had to explain to him that some parents don’t want their kids to know these things.

  20. says

    Woohoo Utah–Bringing back the 19th century one school at a time! Seriously, is anyone else getting tired of reading this crap over and over again. Ugh–All we can do is continue to speak out against this type of irrational behavior…

  21. rilian says

    I haven’t been devastated by any of the sex I’ve had. Why do people think that how *they* feel about something is how *everyone* feels about it?

  22. says

    “Shame! Shame !You say that ‘…sex outside marriage is devastating’. Well, the French call an orgasm the ‘little death’. Whether in or out of marriage, Representive Wright, how can you stand here with a straight face and push your European ways down the throats of the American people, by making America more like France?”

  23. says

    Franklyboring is entertained by the notion that young people in Utah aren’t getting information about what to do to avoid nasty consequences of unsafe sex. Nice to know two things about Frank. The first is that the sad asshole actually can be happy, even if it’s at the expense of other, more worthwhile humans. And, lastly (fourth?) he’s not my neighbor. Well, I guess we can both be happy about that.

  24. Gregory says

    @FlickingYourSwitch #3

    What on Earth would make anyone believe that ignorance is better than knowledge?

    Because the best way to prevent drowning is to jettison the life boats and lock up the vests. Or something.

  25. says

    Well, hah. hah. hah. How’s it feel to have the boot on the other foot?

    What boot on what foot? You do realize that we’re talking about Utah here, right? That metaphorical boot has been on the same Mormon foot for over a hundred years.

    If you’re playing this as a “Christians are using the strong arm of the government to push their moral code,” you might want to consider that there are plenty (maybe even a majority or plurality) of Christians who want comprehensive sex education rather than widely discredited abstinence-only programs.

    And about the only way that government could not be used in such a way if sex education was no longer included in public education, which is an absolutely disastrous idea.

    So shut the hell up already with your smugly disingenuous comments.

  26. Chiroptera says

    TCC, #29: What boot on what foot?

    I could be wrong, but I think he’s referring to his arguments on the Christian pharmacy thread. I think that he thinks that somehow forcing pharmacists to do their jobs according to publically acceptable standards is the same thing as lying to kids about matters that could kill them.

    Or maybe he’s saying that since we US liberals like it when Muslims behead people, then we shouldn’t complain when Mormons dismantle their education system. It’s kind of hard to say.

  27. says

    “Why don’t we just be honest with them upfront that sex outside marriage is devastating?”

    Jeebus shit. This is a use of the word “honest” that makes a mockery of the dictionary.

    If you think sex outside of marriage is immoral, then fine. Just say so. If you think it has negative consequences, then that’s a bit shakier, but a reasonable case can be made that premarital sex carries risks that abstinence does not, although those risks are easily mitigated (by the use of… birth control!).

    But to say that that premarital sex is devastating is a big fucking lie. As one of millions of people who have had sex outside of marriage, I can attest that not only is it not devastating, it’s actually quite nice.

  28. Azkyroth says

    Well, hah. hah. hah. How’s it feel to have the boot on the other foot?

    .
    I suppose you also think we’re hypocrites because we advocate imprisoning someone who sticks a knife between a man’s ribs in a dark alley, but not someone who cuts him when he’s lying on an operating table?

    You have the grasp the context and nuance, and the manners, of a never-disciplined five year old. Go back to your toys.

  29. says

    I was so depressed that during the committee hearing on this bill, a BYU professor was one of the voices of reason telling the legislators that we already had abstinence-only education. When conservative professors from a private Mormon college are telling our legislature they’re dumb and overreaching, I don’t know what hope there is for representative government in my state.

  30. Chiroptera says

    Askyroth, #32: I suppose you also think we’re hypocrites because we advocate imprisoning someone who sticks a knife between a man’s ribs in a dark alley, but not someone who cuts him when he’s lying on an operating table?

    Either that, or he’s saying that since he can’t tell the exact moment when it’s too dark to see, we should never, ever turn on or off a light. We either must have eternal free market liberterandian darkness or the 500W bright sterile light of regimented totalitarianism.

    Besides, today you turn on a flashlight to look for your keys, tomorrow you’ll be shining a laser pointer into your kids’ eyes.

    Or something.

  31. raven says

    But to say that that premarital sex is devastating is a big fucking lie. As one of millions of people who have had sex outside of marriage, I can attest that not only is it not devastating, it’s actually quite nice.

    Virginity – Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaen.wikipedia.org/wiki/VirginityCached – Similar
    You +1’d this publicly. Undo
    Some cultures require proof of a bride’s virginity prior to her marriage. …. The rate for the United States is 52.1 per 1000, the highest in the developed world …

    Premarital sex is so devastating that 95% of the US population has done it before marriage. I suppose this explains why we are the world’s last superpower and a nation of well, devastated people I guess.

    It’s even higher in the rest of the developed world. Gee, who knew the entire First world was full of devastated people.

    To be fair, premarital sex has its risks.

    So does being married. A certain percentage of mostly wives are murdered by their husbands every year and vice versa. Half of all marriages end in divorce which are sometimes no big deal, and sometimes quite acrimonious when children, feelings, or money is involved.

  32. raven says

    From a post on another thread discussing conservatists lack of interest in reality.

    A case in point is Ed’s post above on the Utah GOP Mormon legislaturors war on birth control.

    They just outlawed comprehensive sex ed in their public schools.

    They know it will just lead to an increase in teenage pregnancy, children growing up in poverty, single mothers, and expanding welfare rolls.

    They don’t care. It is more important for them to make a statement that sex is icky and evil so you should only do it with your spouse after marriage.

  33. says

    “Premarital sex is so devastating that 95% of the US population has done it before marriage.”

    To be fair, that number (52.1 per 1000) is for teen pregnancies, not for the number of virgins at the time of marriage.

    The article makes clear though that rates of teen intercourse in the US are comparable to those of other developed nations, and that it’s roughly 25% by age 15, 50% by age 17, and 80% by age 19. Seeing as how very few 19 year-olds are married, I think we can safely say that the vast majority of people have premarital sex at least once. And are not devastated by it.

    I also learned from that article that people in the UK are incredibly slutty and that English girls are twice as likely to give it up by age 15 than French girls. That’s like hearing that English food is widely regarded as superior to French food. I don’t know if my highly ingrained stereotypes can handle that.

  34. frankb says

    I would say that the chances of all Mormon House Of Representatives members never having premarital sex is quite low. Yet they were able to achieve their lofty positions after such devastation. How exceptional! A homeless person or prisoner has something to say about devastating consequences, a rich white male politician, not so much.

  35. Pierce R. Butler says

    rilian @ # 25: I haven’t been devastated by any of the sex I’ve had.

    Somehow I suspect you haven’t had any sex at all with Rep. Bill Wright, R-Holden.

    My advice: don’t start now!

  36. Chiroptera says

    Area Man, #37: That’s like hearing that English food is widely regarded as superior to French food.

    I hear that contemporary English cuisine is basically Indian. If that’s the case, then I can readily believe in it’s superiority.

  37. raven says

    To be fair, that number (52.1 per 1000) is for teen pregnancies, not for the number of virgins at the time of marriage.

    Oops. I just read the google capture.

    It’s actually hard to find real numbers for the percentage of virgins at marriage. It looks like no one but the Utah legislature really cares, LOL.

    One source says it is 7% of men and 20% of women. Whatever the real number of Americans “devastated” by premarital sex, it is the large majority of the population. It is a bit odd that people so often try so hard to be “devastated” by premarital sex.

    Community Action Kit – What is Wrong with the Federal Definition for …www.communityactionkit.org/index.cfm?pageId=893Cached
    You +1’d this publicly. Undo
    Every day in the United States, teens are engaging in a variety of sexual …

    seven percent of men and 20 percent of women 18 to 50 years old were virgins when … is likely this “standard” was never true in America; a third of all Pilgrim brides were … accessed 8 June 2008, ttp://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/yrbs/index.htm .

  38. says

    Pre-marital sex is the only kind I’ve ever had–count me as pleasantly devestated.

    In other news, I had a set-to this evening with some smug teatard asshole. I may not be able to go back to my favorite bar after this (his company’s contractors and full time employees) spend a lot of money in the place and I really like the folks that run it.

    These conservatives* are becoming, literally, fucking insane. You cannot have an argument on any subject with someone who is not capable of rational thought on that subject.

    * Which they are not, in any way shape or form that I’m familiar with.

  39. F says

    I wish they would just ban sex entirely among themselves by agreement and leave the rest of us to reproduce responsibly.

  40. says

    F, power is to be used over other people. That’s what it’s for. What fun would they have if they only used it on themselves? Besides, those other people are sluts.
    And this is America! Land of Freedom™! The Puritans came here to get away from the terrible repression of others holding power over them. And also they no longer held power over everbody over there. Which helped.

  41. frankboyd says

    What boot on what foot? You do realize that we’re talking about Utah here, right?

    True… but this is a result of state controlled education. The kind of thing you lot always defend. You’ve got it now, boys!

    State power. Ain’t it a bitch when it’s used against you? Bend down and adopt the position, and take what you asked for!

    HAWHAWHAWHAWHAWHAWHAWHAWHAWHAWHAWHAWHAWHAWHAWHAWHAWHAWHAWHAWHAWHAWHAWHAW

    Ah, bless Utah – this has made my day. Don’t like the policy, but it’s worth seeing all the explody heads here.

  42. says

    Frankieboilonhumanity’sass:

    Whassamatta Frankie, can’t get to your skinhead meet-ups anymore so you go online to stoke your masturbatory fascist fantasies?

    Your obvious lack of knowledge concerning U.S. laws and policy are not a boon, fuckhead.

  43. frankboyd says

    And it gets better – the wannabe, pseudo-leftie is getting all het up now that he’s on the receiving end of it.

    This is a gift that keeps on giving. Thanks, Utah!

  44. says

    That is simply an idiotic position, that because state power can be used to do bad things, it must be curtailed. No, the answer is to be more vigilant in promoting reason and critical thinking and in electing more competent individuals to government, both locally and federally. If state power is curtailed, that just means that there is more power in different places to do this with no oversight; in such a case, an individual teacher or district in my home state (Illinois) could just decide not to teach sex ed at all and use the class time to moralize about sex, but not if there’s oversight.

    No, what you’re seeing is not “explody heads” but a mentality that doesn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  45. frankboyd says

    From explody to sniffy…

    Yes, yes, yes – “But I thought I was gonna be in charge…” The whine of every wannabe bully who ended up on the receiving end.

    Chow down and enjoy! Howzat public interest tasting now?

  46. Chiroptera says

    frankboyd, #47: True… but this is a result of state controlled education. The kind of thing you lot always defend. You’ve got it now, boys!

    And the funny thing is, I still support the idea of state-controlled education.

    I mean, are you seriously saying that we should eliminate the public school systems altogether?

    Good lord, I feel as if you really meant to write something else.

  47. says

    A serious point that no one seems to have addressed is that it is definitely not pre-marital sex if you don’t marry her/him/it afterwards.
    It does annoy me how people miss…..

  48. says

    I mean, are you seriously saying that we should eliminate the public school systems altogether?

    Good lord, I feel as if you really meant to write something else.

    Yes, Chiroptera, he is. He’s a juvenile libertarian.

  49. dingojack says

    Cranky Franky – I’ve said it before, but you still seem to be having dificulty with this basic concept:
    “The public interest is that which benefits the public, not what the majority wants*
    For example if a majority of people on a suburban street wanted to set off thermonuclear devices in their back yards would that be in the public interest?”

    [Psst… Prop 8. Bwhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!]

    Dingo
    —–
    ** of course the two can coincide, but that is not necessarily always the case

  50. jnorris says

    OK, how about this: just like the Evangelical Fundies want to send kids off campus during school hours for Bible classes for academic credit, lets send kids off campus during school hours for real sex education classes for academic credit.

  51. frankboyd says

    And the funny thing is, I still support the idea of state-controlled education.

    And you’ll get it. The State will keep taking your money to use to take your children to educate the way it sees fit. And you will not get a word to say about how that will be. It might be this. It might be creationism. It might be something far worse. Or it might be just the crappy education that the US is known for.

    Open wide and take a bite!

  52. Anri says

    frankboyd:

    And you’ll get it. The State will keep taking your money to use to take your children to educate the way it sees fit. And you will not get a word to say about how that will be. It might be this. It might be creationism. It might be something far worse. Or it might be just the crappy education that the US is known for.

    Open wide and take a bite!

    You do understand – I mean, even as a libertarian you’re not too stupid to understand – that the difficulty we’re having with this development isn’t doctrinal, it’s factual.

    Crazy as it sounds, we actually do believe that the primary purpose of education is the teach correct facts. Which this dosen’t do.
    I’m really not sure why you think (apparently) that having a more decentralized educational system would result in more kids being tought more completely. Care to explain?

  53. Chiroptera says

    frankboyd, #58: The State will keep taking your money to use to take your children to educate the way it sees fit.

    Holy shit! He really is against the existence of public education!

  54. cptdoom says

    “Why don’t we just be honest with them upfront that sex outside marriage is devastating?”

    But he does have a point. If you look at the current crop of GOP candidates, you see the devastation. After all, both Callista Bisek and Karen Garver had sex outside of marriage and ended up with Gingrich and Santorum, respectively (Bisek, of course, acted like a high-class prostitute by taking a salary to conduct her affair with Newt. Garver just lived with/screwed the OB who had actually birthed her – who also performed abortions – before hooking up with Ricky boy).

  55. Chiroptera says

    Anri, #59: Crazy as it sounds, we actually do believe that the primary purpose of education is the teach correct facts. Which this dosen’t do.

    Yeah, frankboyd really isn’t explaining how his system of “every parent gets to choose the exact specifications of their own kids’ education” would ensure that every kid gets the proper education that is their right to get.

    Maybe, like women and health care, kids don’t really have a right to an education.

    Maybe since kids don’t earn wages, they aren’t really people with rights in the liberterandian paradise.

    Maybe until kids get their own jobs, they are the property of their parents. And we all know that the only rights that liberterandians really believe in are the rights of property owners.

    I’ve never understood this mode of thinking, so I can’t really tell.

  56. rilian says

    I don’t think parents should get to decide what their kids have the opportunity to learn. I don’t think the gubment should decide either, as, having been through 11 years of government school, I know exactly how badly they suck at it.

  57. Anri says

    Chiroptera:

    Maybe, like women and health care, kids don’t really have a right to an education.

    He might believe that they have the right to every bit of education their parents are willing to pay for.
    No less, but certainly – perish the thought! – not one iota more.

    I dunno, maybe I’m wrong.

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