Warning: This article contains sexually explicit information that some readers may find offensive!
This story provides the latest developments on HB 88 – The Healthy Youth Act
Christian Action League
The so-called “Healthy Youth Act,” moved two steps closer to the House Floor this week, with hearings in the Health and House Education Appropriations committees and four amendments.
On Tuesday (April 7), the House Health Committee took up HB 88 – The Healthy Youth Act for a second time.
The legislation would supplant Abstinence Until Marriage (AUM), which is the current standard for sex education for seventh through ninth grades, with Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE). The differences between the two approaches to sex-ed are fundamental. AUM focuses on abstinence from sexual activity until marriage and references contraceptives in the context of failure rates, while CSE* only references abstinence (abstinence from sexual intercourse – not abstinence from sexual activity) and focuses on contraceptives.
“Parents need to understand that an egregious form of sex-ed will soon become the standard in North Carolina’s public schools if this bill passes,” said Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League.
This week, the North Carolina Family Policy Council released a new Issues Brief that cites excerpts from some of the most popular so-called abstinence-based comprehensive sex-ed programs that are used in North Carolina and around the country.
“Reducing the Risk: Building Skills to Prevent Pregnancy, STD and HIV is a CSE program taught in Chapel-Hill/Carrboro city high schools in North Carolina.
(Truth or Myth) ‘Teenagers can obtain birth control pills from family planning clinics and doctors without permission from a parent. TRUTH. You do not need a parent’s permission to get birth control at a clinic. No one needs to know that you are going to a clinic.’
Stepping Stones to Better Living: Responsible Decisions is a locally developed “abstinence-based” sex education program that is used in New Hanover County schools.
In the 8th grade, the teacher shows the co-ed class how to use various contraceptives, such as condoms, which she rolls out on her fingers.
The popular CSE curriculum, Be Proud! Be Responsible! describes itself as ‘abstinence-plus’ and is aimed at 13-19-year-olds.
‘Showering together’ is a ‘green light’ (no risk) activity.’
‘Use condoms as a method of foreplay…Use different colors and types/textures (some have ribs on them)…Think up a sexual fantasy using condoms…Tell your partner how using a condom can make a man last longer…Act sexy/sensual when putting condoms on…Have a sense of humor – be silly – make jokes…Hide them on your body and ask your partner to find it…Wrap them as a present and give them to your partner before a romantic dinner…Tease each other manually while putting on the condom…Have fun putting them on your partner – pretend you are different people or in different situations’
‘Although some guys may be uncomfortable with a young woman who is very assertive, most guys get very turned on if their partner touches them, especially if she touches his penis and strokes it. Applying lubrication directly on his penis will probably make him very excited. Then she can roll the condom on with a lot of lubrication inside and out. During this entire time, her own arousal level also will increase, preparing her vagina for comfortable penetration’
Teachers are advised: ‘These questions [concerning condom use] are geared toward heterosexual partners. Encourage participants to discuss these issues in the context of same-sex partners.’
Another CSE curriculum, Focus on Kids, teaches:
‘When discussing ‘Don’t have sex,’ be sure to help youth identify other options, such as finding fun ways to be together that don’t involve sex, or finding different ways to please a partner without sex (e.g., kissing, rubbing, mutual masturbation).’
Teachers are told to: ‘State that there are other ways to be close to a person without having sexual intercourse. Ask youth to brainstorm ways to be close. The list may include…body massaging, bathing together, masturbation, sensuous feeding, fantasizing, watching erotic movies, reading erotic books and magazines….’
Group leaders are told: ‘You may need to describe anal intercourse. (When a man puts his penis into another person’s rectum or as*@#!&. The person can be male or female.)'”
During the House Health Committee meeting on Tuesday three amendments to HB 88 were offered, two of which failed and one that succeeded.
The first of the two amendments that failed would have removed teaching respect for “committed relationships,” placing heterosexual relationships outside of marriage, homosexual, bisexual, and multi-partner relationships on the same level with traditional marriage. The second amendment that failed would have maintained the current title for North Carolina’s standard for sex-ed as “Abstinence Until Marriage.” HB 88 changes the title to “Abstinence-Only Until Marriage” – a pejorative term used to describe AUM that gives the false impression that it gives no needed information on contraception.
The amendment that passed would provide a third option for parents on a parental consent form at the beginning of the school year. Formerly, the bill only offered parents two choices – AUM or CSE. The amended version of the bill, however, provides three choices to parents – CSE – AUM – or neither one.
On Thursday (April 9), the House Education Appropriations Sub-Committee took up HB-88 and revisited the issue of referring to the current sex ed curriculum as Abstinence Only Until Marriage rather than simply Abstinence Until Marriage.
Rep. Mark Hilton (R-Catawba) challenged the use of the word “only” as misleading.
“My concern is that by adding this word, it would prohibit them from going into other areas. They even teach about contraceptives in the abstinence until marriage curriculum,” said Rep. Hilton. “So where did this word come from and what’s the reason for it?”
In response, Rep. Bob England (D-Cleveland) said he was unsure when or how the adjective “only” was added during the bill drafting process and that after discussions with staff to make sure that removing the word did not affect the meaning of the bill – that he and other sponsors were OK with the word being deleted. Hilton’s amendment passed.
Rep. Hugh Blackwell (R-Burke) questioned bill sponsors about why comprehensive sex ed is the default class if parents don’t choose an option by turning in a form, and Rep. Laura Wiley (R-Guilford) took the issue a step further, seeking to amend the bill to make AUM the default, but her amendment failed.
The Appropriations Committee also grappled with the issue of “committed relationships” and how to clarify exactly what the terms mean or should mean to students considering becoming sexually active.
“There was a great deal of discussion in the Health Committee about the meaning of the word ‘committed,’ particularly among teen-agers, what does commitment mean?” said Rep. Ray Rapp (D-Haywood), who had proposed changing the word to “monogamous.”
After discussion among Rep. Rapp, Rep. Hugh Blackwell (R-Burke) and others who pointed out the difficulties of categorizing relationships, the committee settled on the idea that the new comprehensive sex ed should teach respect for marriage and “long-term, committed relationships.”
“The debate here turns on this whole issue. Do we want to teach our children that there are valid and safe sexual relationships outside of the current standard for North Carolina’s children, which is: ‘a mutually faithful monogamous heterosexual relationship in the context of marriage,'” said the Rev. Creech. “To emphasize anything else is to get bogged down in a relativism that would not only produce faulty and confusing information about sex, but would overtime do more to undermine traditional marriage for future generations.”
The only other amendment to the bill was to change the date it would take effect from the 2009-2010 school year to 2010-2011. According to an estimate from the Department of Public Instruction, the cost of the bill will range from some $117,000 to $210,000. Lawmakers on the Committee were not supplied with a fiscal note, but asked that one be supplied when it is taken up by the full House.
The amended version of the bill is now expected to go to the House floor for a vote. “This amended version is better legislation than what we had,” said Rev. Creech. “But it still keeps CSE as the standard and unless a parent intervenes and opts for AUM or neither, their child will go directly into CSE. Parental choice or not, Comprehensive Sex Education is only fit for ‘dogs in heat,’ not human sexuality – not North Carolina’s most precious resource – her own children. This legislation will put our children at greater risk.”
* This article has been corrected. The third paragraph mistakenly read “while AUM only references…” when it should have stated “while CSE only references…” Our apologies for this error.