RALEIGH – Children as young 12 years old may soon be taught in North Carolina public schools that it is OK to have sex as long as they use contraception and are in a “committed relationship.”
The push for Comprehensive Sex Education, led in part by Equality North Carolina and other homosexual as well as pro-abortion groups, moved forward Tuesday when House Bill 88, the so-called “Healthy Youth Act” got a favorable report from the House Committee on Education.
“Is protected sexual activity for a 12-year-old healthy behavior?” asked Rep. Paul Stam (R-Wake). “I don’t think so.”
He and Rep. Marilyn Avila (R- Wake) were the only two committee members allowed to speak in opposition of the bill, while Committee Chairman Rep. Marvin Lucas (D-Cumberland) allowed sponsors and at least one outside supporter to dominate the 34-minute hearing, which was also attended by a number of students visiting the Capitol for Youth Advocacy Day.
“This bill will now goes to the House Health Committee where we hope that opponents to the bill will get a true opportunity to be heard and it will not be railroaded through as it was this week,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina. “The people of our state need to know that this bill is likely to pass unless they really get a fire under them and let their lawmakers know there will be negative consequences if they vote to approve it.”
The legislation would remove Abstinence Until Marriage as the standard for the state’s sex ed curriculum and create a two-track system whereby, unless their parents intervene, seventh- through ninth-graders would be instructed on how to use more than a dozen contraceptives ranging from condoms to morning-after pills.
The state’s current laws allow for schools to offer instruction beyond the required AUM (abstinence until marriage) as long as they follow required steps including making curriculum available for viewing and holding a public hearing, a procedure that supporters of the new bill called “cumbersome and politically charged.”
Current law, which has helped reduce teen pregnancy rates since its inception in the mid-1990s, requires that students be taught that abstinence from all sexual activity until they are in a “mutually faithful monogamous heterosexual relationship in the context of marriage” is the expected standard and is “the only certain means of avoiding out-of-wedlock pregnancy, [and] sexually transmitted diseases…including HIV/AIDS.”
While HB 88 sponsor Rep. Susan Fisher (D-Buncombe) insisted that the legislation “keeps abstinence until marriage,” in truth, the comprehensive track would suggest that “committed relationships” should be considered in the same vein.
“This curriculum teaches respect for marriage and ‘committed relationships’ whatever that is,” Stam pointed out. “Well, that could be polygamy; that could be ‘well, this semester we’ll be together.'”
He shared findings of a 2003 study that showed that even those who classified themselves as in a “steady relationship,” reported having as many as eight casual partners per year.
“We know what marriage is; nobody knows what committed relationships are,” said Stam, who also challenged the bill’s change of focus from urging students to delay “sexual activity” to focusing only on “sexual intercourse,” the implication that other types of sexual activity don’t carry with them any negative consequences.
“This bill opens the door to present unmarried heterosexual relationships as well as homosexual, bisexual and multi-partner relationships on the same footing as marriage,” said the Rev. Creech, “which is why homosexual groups are behind it.”
Equality North Carolina, a statewide group that promotes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues, touts the bill’s progress on its Web site.
“Telling lesbian, gay and bisexual teens that their only option is to abstain until marriage in a state that denies them the option of marriage is completely unrealistic and puts lives at risk,” wrote Ian Palmquist, the group’s executive director.
It’s that “putting lives at risk” claim or the idea that current AUM curriculum lacks “lifesaving information” that Rep. Avila said she can’t understand. She told the committee that when she saw this concern mentioned in cut-and-paste e-mails supporting the bill, she did a comparison of Wake County’s AUM curriculum and the comprehensive curriculum to see what vital information about pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases that AUM was missing.
“I looked through lines 17 through 50 and found 10 items to cover and went to Wake County’s curriculum and found eight of those,” Avila said. While she conceded that any sex-ed curriculum should include information about sexual assault and sexual abuse – a line item in the proposed plan, she said she could find “no evidence that our Abstinence Until Marriage curriculum is lacking any ‘lifesaving’ information.”
Already students are being taught about STDs using information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and learn about prevention of pregnancy and disease from the FDA list of approved contraceptives.
Nonetheless, Rep. Rick Glazier (D-Cumberland), who has been honored for his work on behalf of Equality North Carolina, tried to link the current AUM curriculum with a range of tragic circumstances as he promoted House Bill 88.
“Because I believe that if we wait thousands of children will become pregnant in this state and face the excruciating choice between unwanted parenthood and abortion and thousands more will be infected with STDs, passing them to other children with hundreds contracting HPV and becoming at risk for cervical cancer…” Glazier said. “To prevent these and so many other tragedies, Mr. Chairman, I move that House Bill 88 receive a favorable report and be re-referred to the Committee on Health.”
Those voting for the bill were Representatives Alma Adams (D-Guilford), Martha Alexander (D-Mecklenburg), Alice Bordsen (D-Alamance), Angela Bryant (D-Halifax), Becky Carney (D-Mecklenburg), Tricia Cotham (D-Mecklenburg), Margaret Dickson (D-Cumberland), Bob England (D-Rutherford), Elmer Floyd (D-Cumberland), Rick Glazier (D-Cumberland), Melanie Goodwin (D-Richmond), Larry Hall (D-Durham), Verla Insko (D-Orange), Darren Jackson (D-Wake), Jimmy Love (D-Harnett), Marvin Lucas (D-Cumberland), Maggie Jeffus (D-Guilford), Marian McLawhorn (D-Pitt), Henry Michaux (D-Durham), Earline Parmon (D-Forsyth), Ray Rapp (D-Haywood), Deborah Ross (D-Wake), Randy Stewart (D-Nash), Cullie Tarleton (D-Ashe), Joe Tolson (D-Edgecomb), Edith Warren (D-Martin), Ray Warren (D-Alexander), Jane Whilden (D-Buncombe), W.A. Wilkins (D-Durham), Larry Womble (D-Forsyth) and Douglas Yongue (D-Hoke).
Those voting against it were Representatives Marilyn Avila (R-Wake), Hugh Blackwell (R-Burke), Curtis Blackwood (R-Union), Larry Brown (R-Davidson), Pearl Burris-Floyd (R-Cleveland), George G. Cleveland (R-Onslow), Nelson Dollar (R-Wake), Dale Folwell (R-Forsyth), Mark Hilton (R-Catawba), Pat Hurley (R-Randolph), Bryan Holloway (R-Rockingham), Linda Johnson (R-Cabarrus), Darrell McCormick (R-Iredell), Pat McElraft (R-Carteret), Grey Mills (R-Iredell), Johnathan Rhyne (R-Lincoln), Ruth Samuelson (R-Mecklenburg), Paul Stam (R-Wake), Bonner Stiller (R-Brunswick), Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) and Laura Wiley (R-Guilford).
Take Christian Action: Now that the bill moves to the House Health Committee, contact the members of that Committee and express your opposition to House Bill 88 – The Healthy Youth Act. It’s always better to use your own words when sending an email. But if it helps, you may cut and paste the message below into your email and send it.
I am very much opposed to HB 88 – The Healthy Youth Act because it would make Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) the standard for North Carolina’s children by default. Although I am aware that HB 88 would still allow for Abstinence Until Marriage (AUM) to be taught in our public schools, it would no longer be the standard and parents would have to intervene if they wanted their children to receive Abstinence Until Marriage.
Abstinence Until Marriage has helped reduce teen pregnancy rates since its inception in the mid-1990s. It requires that students be taught that abstinence from all sexual activity until they are in a “mutually faithful monogamous heterosexual relationship in the context of marriage” is the expected standard and is “the only certain means of avoiding out-of-wedlock pregnancy, [and] sexually transmitted diseases …including HIV/AIDS.” Anything other than this as the State’s standard does not provide our children with the best protection.
Email Addresses of all Members of the House Health Committee