Target: Texas Senate
Goal: Don’t ban Planned Parenthood from providing sexual education material in Texas schools.
Texas has an atrocious record when it comes to reproductive rights, as evidenced by its attempts to defund Planned Parenthood, one of the nation’s foremost providers of health services, including cervical cancer screenings, STI tests, and affordable birth control. Now, some conservatives are taking their opposition towards Planned Parenthood so far that they are attempting to pass a ban on teaching materials provided by Planned Parenthood for teenagers in sexual education curricula.
Conservatives, in their push for an ideology-based sexual education curriculum, want to emphasize abstinence-only sex education. Various studies have shown abstinence-only education to be ineffective at assisting in the prevention of teenage pregnancy, as well as useless for providing teenagers with meaningful, scientific information about sexual health.
The bill is authorized by Sen. Ken Paxton (R). On Tuesday, Renate Sims, a supporter of the bill, spoke to the Senate Education Committee saying, “Abortion providers like Planned Parenthood and their affiliates can’t possibly communicate this message effectively because of their inherent conflict of interest. If teenagers consistently viewed sex as something to be saved for marriage, Planned Parenthood would lose abortion business.”
It is inaccurate to describe Planned Parenthood as merely an “abortion provider” (Planned Parenthood does provide abortions, but it is also in the business of providing comprehensive reproductive healthcare), and furthermore, contrary to what Renate Sims seems to believe, unwanted pregnancies can and do occur within marriages. In a statistic which many in the anti-choice movement are either unaware of or indifferent to, just over 60% of abortions are performed for women who have already had one child, a good many of whom are married, suggesting that the movement for marriage as a safeguard against abortion is laughably misplaced. Sign this petition to tell the Texas Senate not to pass this misguided legislation.
Dear members of the Senate of Texas,
I am writing this petition concerning Ken Paxton’s legislation that would ban the use of Planned Parenthood materials in sex education courses. This legislation is unnecessary, as the schools themselves currently have the final say on what material is used for their courses. I believe individual schools can exercise their own discretion when it comes to deciding which materials to use.
This bill’s constituents have failed to identify any specifics of what they dislike in Planned Parenthood’s legislation beyond the fact that Planned Parenthood performs abortions (only 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services) and the fact that Planned Parenthood does not exclusively promote abstinence. While there is nothing wrong with abstinence per se, teenagers need useful, scientifically and medically accurate information so that they will be safeguarded against STIs and unwanted pregnancies.
Renate Sims, a supporter of Paxton’s bill, claims that if teenagers were encouraged to wait for marriage, then Planned Parenthood would lose business. This kind of thinking seems to lie behind the bill. However, many married women have unwanted pregnancies and, consequently, abortions. Only safe sex practices (in marriage or elsewhere) will be successful in preventing unwanted pregnancies. Marriage is no substitute for safe sex or consent to pregnancy.
Please let the school districts decide what materials to use in their sex education curricula. Educators can make their own choices without the interference of government.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: ProgressOhio via Flickr (Creative Commons Attribution)