Salt Lake Tribune (02.11.12) - Monday, February 13, 2012
The state House Education Committee on Thursday voted 8-7 for
a bill that would allow Utah school districts to discontinue
sex education. The committee made substantial changes to the
measure before advancing it for consideration by the full
Originally, HB 363 would have required districts offering sex
education to teach an abstinence-only curriculum, and it
banned discussion of contraception, homosexuality or non-
marital sex. Critics feared the rule would encroach upon
lessons in other classes, such as literature or history. The
committee voted 8-7 for an amendment removing the ban on
discussing these topics, but prohibiting their advocacy, as
well as instruction on the use of contraception - which is
very similar to current law.
Rep. Kraig Powell (R-Heber City) said his amendment would
allow districts to teach about contraception, but this was
still unclear Thursday. HB 363 sponsor Rep. Bill Wright (R-
Holden) said he would have to look more closely to determine
exactly what the changes meant. Wright said he would prefer
abstinence-only with no discussion of contraception.
As amended, the bill would allow districts to forgo teaching
sex education altogether, whereas now high schools are
required to teach it. Several people spoke against allowing
schools to drop sex education, including Utah PTA President-
Elect Liz Zentner. She warned that that advocates "who don't
really reflect the ideals of the silent-majority parents"
would lobby school boards to remove sex education entirely.
Before the committee vote, Gov. Gary Herbert on Thursday said
he supports current law. "I think how we have it right now
works pretty well," he said.