Policy & Politics
Missouri: Sex-Ed Bill Wins Early OK
April 27, 2006
On Tuesday, the Missouri House of Representatives gave initial approval to a bill that would switch sex education in the state to an opt-in system that requires students to obtain written parental consent before attending sex education courses. The bill, which received a first-round 92-61 vote, reverses the current opt-out system in which students must attend sex education unless parents declare their opposition. The bill must receive House approval once more before it is sent to the Senate for deliberation.
Among its provisions, the bill would require sex education courses to promote "lifelong monogamous marriage between a man and a woman" and affirm that "at conception an unborn child's life begins." The bill would bar abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood, from offering sex education courses in public schools.
Initially, a provision in the bill struck the current requirement that school districts teaching sex education must include discussion about STDs, all forms of contraception, and their efficacy rates. That provision was eliminated to shore up some Republicans' support. A handful of Republicans voted against the bill.
Rep. Cynthia Davis (R-O'Fallon) said she sponsored the measure as a response to her son learning at school how to put on a condom. She rejected arguments of the bill's opponents that students often fail to receive adequate sexual health guidance from their parents. "Parents are not the problem. They are the solution," she said. "The best way to increase parental involvement is to keep them in the loop."
"By creating an opt-in standard we are going to prevent many students from getting the sex ed they are not getting at home," said Rep. Beth Low (D-Kansas City).
A Planned Parenthood-Kansas and Mid-Missouri spokesperson, Traci Gleason, called the bill shortsighted.
Kansas City Star
04.26.2006; Tim Hoover
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.