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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
COLORADO: Abstinence Added to Sex-ed Legislation by State Senators: House Needs To Reconsider the Bill
Phil Tenser
March 20, 2013
The Denver Channel (03.18.13)

The Colorado Senate sent House Bill 13-1081, a bill designed to update standards for sex education in Colorado schools, back to the state House of Representatives for additional consideration, after adding requirements that sex education programs emphasize abstinence. HB 13-1081, which the Colorado House of Representatives had already passed, sets new standards that address safe sex and abstinence and requires parents to opt-out of sex education classes instead of the former requirement that they approve their children’s participation. The Senate voted along party lines—20 Republicans to 15 Democrats—that the revised standards should emphasize abstinence. Republican lawmakers opposed the updated standards in HB 13-1081 because the lawmakers stated that school districts and parents should determine standards for school sex education programs. The bill’s proponents disagreed that the bill removed authority from school districts and parents. Republicans reasoned that abstinence is 100-percent effective in preventing pregnancy and transmission of STDs, whereas birth control measures sometimes fail. Senator Nancy Todd (D-Aurora) stated that HB 13-1081 was designed to prevent unwanted pregnancies and the spread of STDs. Todd emphasized that the bill would require funds be spent on age-appropriate, evidence-based, culturally sensitive, medically accurate, comprehensive human sexuality programs that emphasize positive youth development. Before HB 13-1081 can become law, the Colorado House of Representatives will have to vote on the Senate revisions.