Sex Education Amendment Actually Really Important to Texas Teens
On March 19, the Texas House of Representatives passed House Bill 5 - the school testing bill. The floor debate concerning the bill was, for lack of a better term, a circus. Representative after representative approached the mic to add amendments to the bill. There were a little over 150 amendments filed concerning the bill. Rep. Strama gained a lot of media attention with his objection to passing HB 5 despite the bill's overwhelming support by the Texas Legislature - Rep. Strama was one of two representatives to vote against the bill, and laid out his reasons here.
Among the many amendments filed, there was one incredibly important amendment that went unnoticed. Among the litany of amendments, Rep. Chris Turner from Arlington filed an amendment for evidence-based sex ed in schools. Evidence-based means medically accurate information - which means more than "Hey, guys. Don't have sex. Here's what herpes looks like!"
Texas is fourth in the nation for teen births and first in the nation for repeat teen births. Teen pregnancy is a very serious and prevalent issue in our state. Rep. Turner's amendment sought to directly affect this dismal statistic by ensuring the information taught in sex education classes was accurate and useful.
According to the Texas Freedom Network, 84 percent of registered voters in Texas want sex ed classes in high school to teach birth control methods alongside abstinence. Essentially, Rep. Turner's amendment recognized the correlation between schools teaching medically accurate sex ed and low teen pregnancies rates.
It's a shame that the amendment ultimately failed (see who voted for/against the amendment here). Rep. Turner's effort to address the obvious correlation between the astonishing teen pregnancy rates in Texas and the lack of medically accurate sex ed is admirable and very needed.