Debating Sex Ed In Utah

Yesterday, Utah lawmakers spent two hours debating how to teach sex education in schools despite the fact that they didn’t even have a bill to debate.   The proposed bill that would create two different tracks for sex education in Utah public schools – one that includes information about contraceptives, and one that teaches abstinence only – wasn’t ready in time for the hearing, but that didn’t stop Health and Human Services Committee Co-Chair Chris Buttars from holding the hearing anyway because he had already flown in a right-wing “expert” to testify against it:

[C]ommittee co-chairman Sen. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan, said during the meeting he was not aware there was no bill to present. He said afterward he decided to hold the discussion anyway because he had already flown in psychiatrist and author Miriam Grossman to talk about the topic on his own dime.

Grossman spent about a half hour talking about how not enough scientific facts are included in sex education and how the national Planned Parenthood promotes what she considers to be high-risk sexual behavior among teens.

“The primary goals of these organizations is not to fight disease,” Grossman said. “It is to create a society that tolerates, indeed celebrates, any kind of sexual activity.”

Grossman, who bills herself as “100% MD and 0% PC,” is affiliated with the Claire Booth Luce Policy Institute and is the author of two books: “You’re Teaching My Child What? A Physician Exposes the Lies of Sex Education and How They Harm Your Child” and “Unprotected: A Campus Psychiatrist Reveals How Political Correctness Endangers Every Student.” So it’s not hard to see why someone like Buttars would use his own money to bring her in to testify.

But without an actual bill to debate, committee members ended up merely passing a motion on party lines that urges the legislature “to consider any person or organizations that promotes, recommends or teaches high-risk sexual behavior, Web sites, examples or talks” as inappropriate in public schools.  Because, as Buttars put it, while want our children to learn from knowledgeable people, the people who teach them about sex shouldn’t be too knowledgeable

With no actual bill to debate, the discussion shifted to topics of morality. The group Planned Parenthood was accused of infiltrating schools to push their agenda. Nearly two hours into the debate, a surprise motion was proposed by Sen. David Hinkins, R-Emery County to “not consider any persons or organizations that promotes or recommends teaching extreme sexual acts.”

“Are they being considered in the schools right now?” Sen. Pat Jones, D-Holladay, asked him. “I just want to know how this would change things?”

“I worry about using organizations in our public schools that have sites that go to these extreme measures,” Rep. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan, interjected. “There’s got to be people that’s knowledgeable that don’t go that far.”