Wednesday, the state House passed HB 363 with a 42-28 vote. This means that public schools now have the choice to either teach abstinence or teach nothing at all.

This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.

First, let’s take a look at why some of the proponents of the bill wished for it to be passed. Rep. Bill Wright (R), according to The Salt Lake Tribune, said, “We’ve been watered down to think we have to teach about sex, about having sex and how to get away with it, which is intellectually dishonest . . . Why don’t we just be honest with them upfront that sex outside marriage is devastating?”

All right, even though I do not condone sex outside of marriage, and I believe it can be devastating to young people (if they don’t know the consequences), what Wright is saying is based purely on moral and religious beliefs. Last time I checked, the separation of religion and state was part of the Constitution. I think this is starting to interfere with that.

Also, how can teaching a teen about consequences and how to prevent those consequences be the same as teaching them “how to get away with it”? The world is not a black-and-white place. Abstinence is probably the easiest solution, but in the heat of the moment, teens and even adults aren’t thinking about that. It is better that they know what the options to keep them safe, in multiple ways, are.

Is it even feasibly possible to teach abstinence in its fullness without commenting on contraceptive failures or protection from STDs? According to Rep. Carol Spackman (D), the answer is no. I agree.

You can’t just go up to a kid and say, “Don’t have sex. It’s bad for you.” Well, I guess you could, but it’s not going to have any effect on him or her. Children are going to ask “Why?” Adults need to be able and prepared to provide those answers.

The first place these answers should come from is the home, but not everyone has an environment in which they can acquire this information. I believe in parents taking responsibility for the education of their children, but it’s nice to know that the school system is there to help when the home is broken.

Like I said, children are curious, and that doesn’t end when they become teenagers. In fact, it seems to expand into this monster that encompasses a teen completely with a sense of invincibility. This, in turn, puts teens in a permanent reverse-psychology mode.

Remember when you were a teen? Did you do what your parents asked all of the time (be honest)? I know my first impulse was to do the opposite, just to “show them” that I was grown up. Teaching only abstinence in schools is going to have this same effect.

Actually, it already has been proven, in Utah, that the abstinence-only curriculum is not effective. Rep. Francis Gibson (R), according to the Daily Herald, said in the school district he represents where this has already been implemented, teens are becoming parents of unplanned children.

Honestly, I can just see this whole abstinence-only curriculum becoming equivalent to Prohibition. It is human nature, especially during teenage years, to seek what we cannot have.

We cannot be so black and white about this subject. Parents will help establish their children’s moral compass, and children will then decide whether or not to abide by that. Schools should still be able to help provide information for those children who don’t have any other opportunity of exposure.

If the state doesn’t like how sex-ed is being handled, maybe it can be revised, but it shouldn’t be taken away. Abstinence is great, but it’s not the only option.

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