Monday, February 23, 2009

NC Public Supports Compromise Sex Ed Bill

I was encouraged this morning to see a new poll that confirms what we already believed: most people want the option for their kids to get comprehensive sex education in school. The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling, shows that 69% of North Carolina voters support the Health Youth Act, which would require to schools to offer both abstinence-only and abstinence-based comprehensive sex education and let parents decide. Even majorities of conservative and Republican voters support the bill.

You can read more about the poll here.

This proves yet again that a very small minority has been forcing their values on the majority with inaccurate and incomplete abstinence-only sex education.

You know, I'm actually disappointed by the Healthy Youth Act--it doesn't go nearly as far as I think it should in an ideal world.

I believe all young people should get complete and accurate comprehensive sex education that encourages abstinence but also teaches contraception and disease prevention strategies. Since a majority of young people do start having sex before the graduate, this seems like a no-brainer. I'd like to see these horrible, medically inaccurate and often homophobic abstinence-only curricula sent to the dump.

Yet, despite most parents wanting comprehensive sex education (as previous studies have shown), it's become clear that there just aren't enough legislators with the will to end the abstinence-only debacle. That makes the Healthy Youth Act a worthy compromise.

While it doesn't get proven, real sex ed to every student, it will get it to a whole lot more than have it now. New Hanover County--hardly a bastion of liberalism--has tried a similar two-track system and found that the vast majority of parents choose comprehensive when given a choice.

If a small minority of parents prefer a curriculum that lies to young people and denies them accurate information, they could still choose that for their (unfortunate) kids under the Healthy Youth Act. But it's high time we stopped letting them hijack our schools and risk the lives of everyone else's children.

-Ian Palmquist

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