Good News from Utah

From April and John comes something of a rarity these days, the news that a conservative politician has declined to take the stupidest, most reactionary stance on a piece of legislation regarding sexual health. Utah Governor Gary Herbert has vetoed the legislation that would have allowed schools to stop teaching sex education and barred any mention of contraception in what sex education remained.

It was a decision that followed pressure by thousands of Utahns on both sides of the issue since lawmakers passed HB363 last week. Utahns flooded the governor’s office with thousands of letters; more than 40,000 people signed an online petition against it; hundreds rallied against it at the Capitol this week; and a variety of groups took public stands.

In rejecting the bill Friday, Herbert said that sex education is an emotional topic and instruction should stress the importance of abstinence, but not interfere with parents’ ability to determine how their children are instructed.

“After careful review of existing law and following extensive discussions with stakeholders on both sides of the issue,” Herbert said, “I am convinced the existing statutory framework respects these two principles, while HB363 simply goes too far by constricting parental options.”

There’s some talk that this is political cowardice on the part of the governor. I’m fine with that. Whatever it takes.

Good News from Utah
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5 thoughts on “Good News from Utah

  1. 4

    I’m unsure how limits on what the schools can teach “constrict parental options” but I’m firmly in the “whatever it takes” camp on this one, too. Cowardice or good sense, it got the job done for this round.

  2. 5

    I’m unsure how limits on what the schools can teach “constrict parental options”

    @janeymack, knowing what the governor is talking about there basically requires understanding our current stupid opt-in system of education. As it is now, in order to attend sex ed classes, parents are notified two weeks in advance (with a breakdown of exactly what will be covered) and have to sign a permission form opting their children in.

    Despite it being a hassle, over 97% of Utah parents do this every year. This bill would have not only prevented any useful information from being taught during opt-in classes, it would have allowed schools or districts to simply not offer sex education courses (including ridiculous abstinence only) at all. Meaning, it would take away the option currently in existence for parents to choose some knowledge and education they currently have.

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