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Sex ed without the sex

Politically motivated, biologically laughable

Last month, two bills were approved by House committees on education. The first, HB 2949, passed by the House Education Committee, would create the Oklahoma Education Savings Account and give actual cash money to parents who choose to send their kids to private instead of public schools. Hard to imagine how this legislation, which will siphon even more funds (and is probably unconditional to boot) from public education, wasn’t the worst of the two, but when it comes to the state GOP and bad legislation, it sets a high bar on awful. 

Meet your winner:

Legislation that authorizes publicly funded programs to instruct Oklahoma high school students that life begins at conception has been approved by a state House committee. The powerful House Appropriations and Budget committee voted 17-2 for the measure on Tuesday and sent it to the full House for debate and a vote.


We weep.

Authored by Ann Coody (R-Lawton), House Bill 2797, shamelessly named the “Humanity of the Unborn Child Act,” is designed to instruct teenagers that life begins at conception, abortion is the devil’s handiwork, and Planned Parenthood is staffed by infanticidal apologists who should be flogged and imprisoned.

I kid. There’s no actual mention of flogging.

Pursuant to the United States Supreme Court Case Maher v. Roe, which held that the U.S. Constitution imposes “no limitation on the authority of a state to make a value judgment favoring childbirth over abortion, and to implement that judgment by the allocation of public funds”, 432 U.S. 464, 474 (1977), the Legislature hereby affirms that it is the public policy of the State of Oklahoma to make a value judgment favoring childbirth over abortion. 

Used to be, you had to send your kids to religious school for this kind of in-your-face indoctrination, but Coody has now decided the state, too, needs a nun’s ruler to whap across the desk. The Supreme Court, she makes clear, is not going to tell us what we can and can’t be teaching the youngens.

“There is only one sure prevention of pregnancy, and that’s not to cause it in the first place,” said Coody. “The killing of a human being is murder, plain and simple.”

For the love of joined gametes floating through the Fallopian tube looking for the uterine wall, lighten up on the imagery, would you? Nobody is being murdered. 

Coody supports the death penalty, too, so there’s that, but let’s not quibble over timing. More troubling than her hyperbole and sanctimony—no small achievement — is the obviousness of her bait and switch.

Opponents Emily Virgin, D-Norman, and Jason Dunnington, D-Oklahoma City, asked why the bill did not also include sex education. “If this is really to lower the number of abortions, why would sex education and contraception not be part of it?” Dunnington asked.

Why? Because it’s not about sex education or contraception—it’s not even really about abortion. It’s about power, control, and morphing public schools into vessels and launchpads for the teaching of a Christian worldview. 

And because nothing stops fornicating teens quite like a good :30 PSA and a take-home pamphlet, we bring you the following message:

House Bill 2797 …  would also authorize state-funded public service announcements “for the purpose of achieving an abortion-free society. Such materials shall be developed from the most readily available, accurate and up-to-date information and shall clearly and consistently teach that abortion kills a living human being and is against public policy.”

Why not just give them placards and have them march in front of Reproductive Services for extra credit?

Tony Lauinger, the director of Oklahomans for Life, would help lead the fight, said Coody, which is scary enough, but now we find out he has no idea how to do it.

Lauinger said he didn’t know exactly how the education component would be implemented or what the public service announcements might look and sound like.

That’s encouraging.

Good thing people involved in pushing the pro-life agenda would never cut corners or get all hinky with the production for political ends.

A Houston grand jury investigating criminal allegations against Planned Parenthood stemming from a series of undercover videos on Monday instead indicted two of the anti-abortion activists who shot the footage. 

In any event, Lauinger said parents could “opt out” of the instruction for their children. 

You’re a prince, Tony, thanks. 

Please excuse Johnny from today’s gruesome—and probably doctored— aborted fetus videos and laughable abstinence discussions.

Meanwhile, back on Planet Earth, the president was handling this issue like a grownup.

President Barack Obama removes all government funding for abstinence-only sex education programs in public schools. 


Over the past 25 years, Congress has spent over $1.5 billion on abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, yet no study in a professional peer-reviewed journal has found these programs to be broadly effective. 

That’s not good.

Research on virginity pledges found that for a select group of young people, pledges did delay the onset of sexual intercourse for an average of 18 months.

Wait. That is. The longer teens put off making babies, the better, right?

Except ...

Further research found that, among those young people who have not had vaginal intercourse, pledgers were more likely to have engaged in both oral and anal sex than their non-pledging peers.  In fact, among virgins, male and female pledgers were six times more likely to have had oral sex than non-pledgers, and male pledgers were four times more likely to have had anal sex than those who had not pledged.

Alrighty then. Let’s move on.

As a result of this meta-study, the researchers concluded that recent declines in the U.S. rate of teen pregnancy are most likely the result of improved use of contraception rather than a decrease in sexual activity.

Meanwhile Oklahoma is one of 29 states that don’t require sex education and ranks 2nd in the nation in teen pregnancy

I’m sure there’s no connection.

Oh, and for those scoring at home, how many times do the words condom, contraception, pill, and IUD appear in HB 2797? How many times does the word sex appear in HB 2797? How many times does the word abortion appear in HB 2797?

0, 0, and 13.

Look, if teenagers are going to have sex—and that’s the best bet in the house—shouldn’t we do more than shovel platitudes in their direction? We know what prevents pregnancy and the transmission of STDs—and it’s not shame, fear of God, or PSAs extolling the virtues of waiting to have sex until the honeymoon. It’s condoms, pills that inhibit the body’s natural cyclical hormones, diaphragms and sponges, intrauterine devices, spermicides and medically-accurate information.

You want to make a PSA? Make one about that. You want to talk about the humanity of a zygote? Don’t. It’s not only politically motivated and biologically laughable, it’s bad public policy. 


Update: March 1: House Bill 2797 passed the full House by a vote of 64-12 with 25 elected officials not casting a vote.

For more from Barry, read his reaction to Gov. Mary Fallin's sixth State of the State Address.

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