On Tuesday we saw this absurd headline on the blog of one of the most extreme right-wing groups in Texas:
“Planned Parenthood & Texas Freedom Network Team Up to Push Drug-Based Sex Education”
“Drug-Based Sex Education”? Good grief.
The headline referred to TFN helping high school and college students from around Texas advocate that day at the Capitol in Austin for responsible sex education in public schools. An in-depth TFN Education Fund report in 2009 revealed that more than 95 percent of public school districts in Texas teach abstinence-only or nothing at all when it comes to sex education. That statistic is especially alarming in a state with one of the highest teen birthrates in the nation. Clearly, keeping young people ignorant hasn’t been an effective sex education strategy. In fact, ignorance puts teens at serious risk and threatens their health and their futures.
But rather than debate a serious issue in a serious way, right-wing pressure groups and abstinence-only ideologues rely on lies and fear-mongering.
Two years ago they said legislative efforts to teach Texas students comprehensive sex education — including the importance of abstinence — would lead to schools promoting “recreational and gay sex.” Now they make bizarre claims about “drug-based sex education,” whatever the heck that means.
They obviously think Texans are just too stupid to know when they’re being manipulated. But when Texans know the truth, they support teaching young people the information they need to protect themselves from unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. In fact, a May 2010 poll for the TFN Education Fund found that 80 percent of likely voters in Texas agree that high schools should teach “about contraception, such as condoms and other birth control, along with abstinence.”
You can advocate at the state level for responsible, age-appropriate, evidence-based sex education by signing on to the Education Works petition here and joining TFN’s Restore Responsible Sex Education Rapid Response Team here. To learn more about working for better sex education in your local community, click here.