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Elizabeth Boskey, Ph.D.

Go Governor Herbert!

By March 23, 2012

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A few days ago, Utah's Republican Governor Gary Herbert vetoed a proposed abstinence only sex education bill that had been approved by both the state House and Senate. I say "Good for him!" Not only is abstinence only education less effective than comprehensive education in preventing pregnancy and STDs, by equating sex with vaginal intercourse, it also contributes to an environment that is hostile towards sexual minority youth.

In addition to forbidding education about contraception, abortion, and alternative lifestyles, the bill would have allowed schools to drop sex education altogether. These two factors combined make it easy to understand Governor Herbert's logic behind rejecting the bill, even though the move was unexpected from someone generally considered to be a conservative politician. As reported in the Salt Lake Tribune, his logic was that the new bill deprived parents of the ability to choose what type of sex education their children should receive, since current law already allowed parents to opt out of sexual health lessons. His decision also recognized that comprehensive sex education can emphasize abstinence while still teaching young people about other options. Nice job!

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