Sex ed in Texas might no longer focus so much on abstinence, if a local lawmaker has his way.
State Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, proposes that sex ed also focus on “medically accurate” and age-appropriate information about preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
“In a state with the fourth highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation and the highest repeat teen birth rate, we must do more to ensure that Texas students are receiving medically accurate information about sexual health,” he said.
“It’s also critical that we adequately educate young people about the dangers of sexually transmitted infections.”
Turner’s proposed House Bill 1351 is one of handful of bills geared to change the state’s sex education program, which since the mid 1990s under then-Gov. George W. Bush has stressed that abstinence must be part of the curriculum.
This comes as about half of all high school students say they’ve had sex, 41 percent didn’t use a condom the last time they had sex and 15 percent have had sex with four or more people during their life, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In Texas, chlamydia is three times as prevalent between sexually-active people between the ages of 14 and 24 as it is among those between the ages of 25 and 39, according to the Texas 2013 STD Surveillance Report.
More than a dozen states are working on their sex education laws.
HB 1351 stresses that abstinence is the preferred choice and the only way to 100 percent prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. It also states that sex ed should be presented in an age-appropriate, medically accurate and evidence-based manner — and provide information about methods to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases including HIV.
And it encourages students to “develop healthy life skills” that can help them make responsible decisions about sexuality and relationships.
Anna Tinsley, 817-390-7610