September 12, 2008

"QUIT LYING ABOUT MY RECORD!"

McCain's Ad Is Right on the Sex Education Bill (Jim Geraghty, 9/11/08, National Review: Campaign Spot)

[H]aving now looked at the text of the sex education bill in question… it’s clear that one of its key purposes was to change existing law that said “Each class or course in comprehensive sex education offered in any of grades 6 through 12 shall include instruction on the prevention, transmission and spread of AIDS” to “Each class or course in comprehensive sex education offered in any of grades K through 12 shall include instruction on the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including the prevention, transmission and spread of HIV.” Yes, the legislation permitted parents to take their children out of the class. But that was already existing law.

(Note that the legislation also aimed to change the language from “All public elementary, junior high, and senior high 20 school classes that teach sex education and discuss sexual –intercourse shall emphasize that abstinence is the expected norm in that abstinence from sexual intercourse is the only protection that is 100% effective against unwanted teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)” to “All public elementary, junior high, and senior high school classes that teach sex education and discuss sexual activity or behavior shall emphasize that abstinence is an effective method of preventing unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and HIV when transmitted sexually.”)

Yes, there is a section stating that course material ought to be “age and developmentally appropriate.” But the bill also talks about alcohol and drug use education instruction in grades 5 through 12. So the legislation clearly recognized that some topics are best held until later years, but deemed that instruction on sexually-transmitted diseases - not merely "good touch, bad touch" - wasn’t one of them.

The bill was approved by the state senate’s Health and Human Services Committee with the support of… Barack Obama. The bill must have run into objections from the full chamber, because shortly thereafter, one of the bill’s original sponsors, State Sen. Carol Ronen, apparently rethought the age issue and introduced an amendment to shift it back to grade 6. But the revised bill never came up for a vote in the full chamber.


Can the Obama camp really think that arguing about the nuances of his kindergarten sex education vote is helpful?

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 12, 2008 6:50 AM
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