Study shows majority of Utahns support sex education

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Sex education is taught in many elementary schools across the country, but the Utah legislature is working on passing  House Bill 363 to change how it is taught.

HB363 is changing sex education in Utah to stress abstinence from all sexual activity before marriage and fidelity after marriage as the only sure methods for preventing certain communicable diseases. It is also imposing restrictions for human sexuality instructional programs. However, a recent study found 58 percent of Utahns support sex education, according to a news release from the Utah Democratic Party.

KSL.com reported the study came from BYU’s Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy and “shows 58.3 percent of Utah voters agree or even strongly agree that public schools in the state should teach kids about contraceptive use.”

Utah State Democratic Party Chair Jim Dabakis said he hoped Utah Gov. Gary Herbert would veto the bill.

“It’s horrifying,” Dabakis said in the news release, “the way the extremist Republicans in the Utah Legislature have interfered with the relationship between parent and child, and blocked important information that 58 percent of Utah parents want their children to have. The safeguard for sanity is the governor. The people’s wishes are clear. He should do what is right and veto HB363.”

Amanda Frey, a senior from Idaho Falls, Idaho, studying ancient Near Eastern studies, said even though she can see the perspective of the bill, it’s not right to force ideas on people.

“I understand why the bill is coming out in Utah,” Frey said. “The majority of the population is LDS and supports abstinence, but it should be the right of the parent to decide what their child learns. We can’t force our views of sexual intimacy on other people.”

Frey said if the bill passes, it may cause a bad reputation about the Church pushing its views on others.

Frey said she understands why parents are getting upset, but if a middle ground is possible, it should be acted on.

“I think the best alternative would be to teach how to be safe and teach abstinence,” Frey said. “I also think it would help if the parents of students knew exactly what was being taught in the sexual education classes.”

Clayton Poston, a student from Peoria, Ariz., studying Middle Eastern studies/Arabic, said he does not have a problem with the bill.

“The bill doesn’t bother me,” Poston said. “It is the responsibility of the parents to educate their child about sex. I would prefer to teach my children myself instead of the school teaching them.”

Poston said schools should teach more about physical content than religious content.

“Schools should teach more about the body and less about religious views,” Poston said. “Keep biology at school and religion at home.”

Brooke Pitcher, a senior from Westminster, Colo., studying home and family living, said she thinks the bill should be vetoed because it is important to know about both sides.

“It’s important to be informed about sexual education,” Pitcher said. “You don’t want people to be completely naive because then they won’t know what they are doing. Education about abstinence and safe sex are equally important so then the person will make an educated decision.”

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