Note to reader – This article is about a bill that failed to advance out of k-12 sub-committee this week. Though the bill was tabled, the problems it attempted to address remain with us.
H3435 proposed to change how students are taught “reproductive health education” in our public schools. It was debated in the K-12 sub-committee meeting on Wednesday April 17, 2013 where debate was adjourned effectively stopping the bill for this session.
H3435 strikes the current law prohibiting instruction concerning “sexual practices outside of marriage or practices unrelated to reproduction” and replaces it with “instruction must be medically accurate and factual that is age-appropriate and includes education on abstinence, contraception and methods of disease prevention to prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including, but not limited to, HIV/AIDS.” The bill leaves in the statement declaring that “abstinence and the risks associated with sexual activity outside of marriage must be strongly emphasized.” To read the entire bill, please refer to H3435.
The logic driving the bill can be found in our current birth and risk behavior statistics. According to the Center for Disease Control, 47.6% of children born in South Carolina during 2010 were born to unmarried mothers. The national average was 40.8%. Compare this to the 1960 national average of 5%. We should also look at the CDC 2011 Youth Risk Surveyto see that 47% of high school students have had sexual intercourse.
Clearly, the cornerstones of our society – family, church, and government – have not responded adequately to curtail the effects of the sexual revolution.
The current law attempts to teach our students the relationship between sexual activity and marriage based on a traditional understanding of morality – without teaching where the moral authority is derived. Though well intentioned, the statistics show that our current approach without the outside support of parents or church to reinforce traditional values does little to influence behavior.
The new law presumes that the moral decline cannot be reversed and proposes that since students are having sex, we should educate them on how to engage in that activity in a safe manner.
Ultimately, this bill failed in committee because it attempted to treat the symptoms of our declining morality, not offer a cure.