Survey on Sex Education in MT Schools

Click on this link https://umt.co1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_a3La6F7oXfOgFlH to take an ANONYMOUS 15 minute survey and have the opportunity to contribute to the movement for inclusive, comprehensive sex education and put your name in a drawing for one of TEN $25 Amazon gift cards.

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I have been asked to invite my LBGTQI+ friends, to take a survey asking about their perceptions of high school sex education classes in Montana. The University of Montana and the Montana State Public Health Department are interested in whether sex education classes are providing LBGTQI+ (sexual and gender minority) students with the information and skills they need to stay safe and healthy.

If you consider yourself to be part of the sexual and/or gender minority community, are between the ages of 18 and 24, and attended a high school in Montana we need your input.

This is an equal opportunity survey, so If you do not identify as a member of the sexual and/or gender minority community, but are between the ages of 18 and 24 and attended high school in Montana, we welcome your participation as well.

“Abstinence Isn’t Working”

…Salon.com backs it up:

Earlier this week, when the CDC announced a record low in the teen birth rate, it listed two possible causes: “The impact of strong pregnancy prevention messages” and “increased use of contraception.” The Guttmacher Institute came out with an even stronger message: “The most recent decline in teen births can be linked almost exclusively to improvements in teens’ contraceptive use,” the organization said in a press release, which pointed to another CDC study for evidence.

But that hasn’t stopped conservatives from claiming that the drop is a result of, you guessed it, abstinence education and, paradoxically, an increase in abortions.

Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America expressed her outrage over the CDC analysis: “They don’t even mention the fact there’s been a tremendous increase in effectiveness and pervasiveness of abstinence education. They don’t mention the fact that teen sexual activity, by their own admission, is down.” As Think Progress noted this week, teen birth rates are actually highest in states with abstinence-only policies. Not only has it been widely documented that such programs are largely ineffective, it’s also been shown that such programsmay prevent contraception use.

Now, it’s true that teens — specifically 15- and 16-year-olds — are delaying sexual activity, but the change in contraceptive use over the years has been much more profound, and there has been no significant change in sexual activity among 18- and 19-year-olds. What’s more, there was no change in sexual activity among teens, period, from 2008 on, says Laura Lindberg, senior research associate at Guttmacher, so the recent decline in teens births certainly can’t be attributed to abstinence. Also, it should be noted that abstinence can be the result of any number of social influences, not necessarily abstinence-only education. (Consider research showing that teens who receive sex educationare much more likely to delay sex.)

Full story here:

Utah Legislature Avoids Messy Facts, Science; Advances Bill Dropping Sex Ed

Utah State Capitol

Image via Wikipedia

Sadly, but perhaps unsurprisingly, Utah’s Legislature is moving forward on HB363, a piece of legislation that would effectively end any comprehensive sexual education in Utah schools. The Salt Lake City Weekly:

House Bill 363 sponsor Rep. Bill Wright, R-Holden, argued that teaching contraception only encouraged immoral behavior, so his bill would allow for schools to teach abstinence-only or to opt out of teaching sexual education entirely. Wright said teaching sexuality wasn’t a priority in education. “This is not like all our students are going to die if they don’t learn promiscuous behavior,” Wright said. (emphasis mine)

Yes. That’s what he said.

In an editorial for the same paper, Rebecca Walsh opines

Anti-sex-education crusader Bill Wright would have loved me.

In seventh grade, I was just like the tiny blond granddaughter the Republican legislator from Holden hauled up to Capitol Hill last week as a prop for his legislative campaign, House Bill 363. I was the pristine product of a sex-free Utah public education and Mormon parents—innocent, naïve, clueless.

Then one day, I overheard a boy in the hall at school crudely describing the mechanics of copulation. In an instant, Troy rendered irrelevant my parents’ denial that we needed to have the talk and showed me the limits of my teachers’ silence. It was the end of innocence, delivered by a pimply teenage boy.

And that’s the problem with Wright’s (and my parents’) plan: It’s not rooted in real life.

American teens are shockingly misinformed about their bodies, birth control and pregnancy—Utah kids even more so.

A 2008 study by Self magazine and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy found many young adults had “magical thinking” when it comes to sex—unsure of how often to take birth-control pills, unfamiliar with 28-day fertility cycles.

And that was among young adults with some level of sex education. In the information vacuum created by Utah lawmakers, sex ed ranges from abstinence-only programs in four school districts—Alpine, Canyons, Jordan and Nebo—to oblique references from frightened biology and health teachers in others.

When are we going to wake up to science and truth? High school students are having sex. Right now. Probably without condoms, birth control, and in Utah, without rudimentary knowledge of biological processes.

While this “teaching kids about sex causes them to have more sex” nonsense avoids the reality of the situation: as a society, we are ridiculously stupid about sex.

Ridiculously.

And if this bill gets through, that ridiculousness will be enshrined in Utah law.