Utah will not become the first state to ban student education on contraception, pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Governor Gary Herbert vetoed House Bill 363 which would limit sexual education in the classroom to “abstinence-centered” curriculum only.
“If H.B. 363 were to become law, parents would no longer have the option the overwhelming majority is currently choosing for their children. I am unwilling to conclude that the state knows better than Utah’s parents as to what is best for their children,” Herbert said.
Human sexuality, abstinence, intercourse, pregnancy, contraception, marriage and STDs are not part of the required core curriculum taught in school. Parents must sign a release permitting their children to attend classes in which those topics are discussed and taught. H.B. 363 would have severely limited an instructor’s ability to answer questions a student may have regarding these topics.
Both sides, supporters and opponents of the bill, have expressed concerns throughout the legislative process. Many opponents felt the educators should be more involved in creating the bill, and supporters wanted more control in what is taught by the school.
“When they are ready to get married, they can be taught how to use contraceptives,” said Representative Bill Wright, who sponsored H.B. 363.
Herbert does not feel the same way.
“In order for parents to take on more responsibility, they need more information, more involvement and more choice—not less,” Herbert said.
Until a new bill is proposed and passed, Utah parents will still have the same option to allow or exclude their child from the material currently approved and provided by the State Board of Education.
“It’s a Utah thing We have that abstinence mindset already.”
“I think abstinence is the best option, but you should be educated too.”
“I never remember having the sex talk with my parents. I might have wanted to know a little more a little sooner.”
“How many parents actually have that conversation with their kids?”