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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

UTAH: Most Utahns Support Governor's Veto of Sex Education Bill


Salt Lake Tribune (04.22.12) - Friday, April 27, 2012

In a new Salt Lake Tribune poll, 69 percent of Utah voters sided with Gov. Gary Herbert's veto of a bill that would have scaled back sex education in public schools.

Support for vetoing the legislation - which would have allowed school districts to drop sex education and required those that kept it to offer abstinence-only instruction - was diverse, encompassing 64 percent of Republicans, 63 percent of Mormons, and 69 percent of both men and women.

"It was not a good policy for us," Herbert said, adding that the measure "went too far in taking away parental choice." Murray school bus driver Paul Krueger collected tens of thousands of signatures through an online petition urging the gubernatorial veto. Noting the conservative nature of mandated sex education in the schools already, Krueger said, "There was just no reason to try and change that." "The government should not be telling you how to parent," he said.

Current law requires that sex education stress the importance of abstinence; permits abstinence-only instruction; allows the discussion of contraception so long as its use is not advocated; and lets parents opt their kids out of the classes.

Bill sponsor Rep. Bill Wright (R-Holden) maintains Utahns did not support the bill because it was misrepresented as restricting choices, when it actually would have expanded choice by allowing school districts to drop sex education.

Wright is considering sponsoring a similar bill next session that may completely erase sex education. "The inherent problem is still there. It's inappropriate we destroy the innocence of youth to teach contraception in public education," he said.

Conversely, Salt Lake City poll respondent Grant Nelson hopes "a little education and schooling before the kids become sexually active" will help reverse state problems with unwanted pregnancies and STDs.


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