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Utah Governor vetoes abstinence-only sex education law

Saturday, March 17, 2012

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s Republican Governor Gary Herbert on Friday vetoed a controversial measure which would have banned the state’s public schools from teaching contraception as a way of preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

Gary Herbert

The measure, House Bill 363, would have also prohibited any instruction in regard to sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other instruction on human sexuality outside of promoting abstinence.

Had Herbert signed the bill into law, it would have been the first of its kind in the nation.

The bill had previously cleared Utah’s Republican-controlled House and Senate, and political observers noted that Herbert was widely expected to sign it.

In a statement released on Friday, the Governor said that “as a parent and grandparent” he considered proper sex education in public schools an important addition to the moral education students receive from their parents at home.

“If HB 363 were to become law, parents would no longer have the option the overwhelming majority is currently choosing for their children. I am unwilling to conclude that the state knows better than Utah’s parents as to what is best for their children,” he said.

“In order for parents to take on more responsibility, they need more information, more involvement, and more choice — not less. I cannot sign a bill that deprives parents of their choice,” Herbert added.

Gayle Ruzicka, president of Utah Eagle Forum, a conservative group that describes itself as “leading the pro-family movement,” told the Salt Lake Tribune that it was a “sad day for the children of Utah.”

“It never entered our minds that the governor, who told us he was conservative, would veto such an appropriate piece of legislation,” Ruzicka said.

“By vetoing this bill, he just sent the message that Utah’s stamp of approval [is] on teaching children how to have sex, teaching contraception and saying this is the safest way to have sex,” she said.

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20 more reader comments:

  1. Magic underwear ?

    Posted on Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 10:56am
  2. Fast track to teenage pregnancies …

    Posted on Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 10:56am
  3. Finally a Recpublican with the strength to vote against the right wing fringe of his party.

    Posted on Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 10:59am
  4. Actually the opposite Wally. There have many studies that show abstinence only doesn’t work.

    Posted on Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 11:00am
  5. Thank goodness that someone in THAT party still has a smidgen of common sense.

    Posted on Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 11:02am
  6. Parents always have the option of not letting their kids attend those particular classes. If they think that learning how to prevent pregnancy and STDs is going to lead their kids to immediately run out and have massive amounts of unprotected sex (dafuq?), then they can have their kids sit out of class on the sex ed day(s). Simply providing the opportunity to receive sex education is not ramming it down kids throats or telling them “go have sex now!”. There is still parental input and control with their kid’s sex education.

    Posted on Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 11:03am
  7. Silly me , I thought it reads “Votes” instead of “Vetoed” …. My Bad

    Posted on Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 11:04am
  8. I just do not understand the mindset of “the only thing keeping my kid from running out and having sex is the threat that their ignorance of sexual health puts them at risk of STDs and pregnancy! if we educate them and remove the risk of pregnancy and STDs then they’ll have no reason not to have sex!” And then they try to claim that this is a values issue. Can they not see they have stripped sex of any values attached to it when they claim that the only thing keeping teenagers from doing it are threats of health consequences? Even if a teenager learns how to protect themselves from STDs and pregnancy, shouldn’t they also have some set of values that they can use to guide their decision on whether or not to have sex right now? A set of values that is independent of basic health education would not be threatened by that education, and would still guide a teen to wait on having sex!

    Posted on Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 11:13am
  9. now there u go

    Posted on Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 11:50am
  10. Grace, you hit the nail on the head!

    Posted on Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 11:58am
  11. I don’t think parents should be allowed to take their children out of sex ed classes. No one should grow up being ignorant due to their parents’ stupidity. There is nothing that makes sex ed classes less valid for all then any other class.

    Posted on Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 11:59am
  12. ^ disagree my sex ed class had nothing to do with my sex life at lest if my parents told me i would have had a better idea. not to mention i went to a catholic school. so in some cases parents should teach kids over a teacher.

    Posted on Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 12:46pm
  13. I am so glad he had sence enough to do this. I don’t know if I would let my children go to school here in Utah if that is the way they teach. There are enough things wrong with this state we don’t need pregnant teenagers running around all over the place because no one would teach them about birth control or safe sex! a lot of parents don’t, it is up to the schools to educate!

    Posted on Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 12:58pm
  14. I don’t even let my children go to school, the education they receive is sketchy plus they are never taught the truth regarding history so sex ed would be the same, but i feel bad for alll those little kids who will not receive sex ed from their families, now where r they gonna learn it?

    Posted on Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 2:47pm
  15. I work with kids I am seeing the results of no child left behind and abstinence only sex. ed. the results are horrible……They cheated out of a good education and the truth……Good job Mr. Bush.

    Posted on Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 3:03pm
  16. Tahnk God inteleligence isn’t comletely destroyed iuneveryone who gets elects to public office!

    Posted on Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 4:06pm
  17. It’s like talking to someone about suicide. It’s not going to go make them do it.

    Posted on Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 6:45pm
  18. That was a mental health reference….probably sounds strange out of context.

    Posted on Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 6:45pm
  19. Wow. He’s got balls.

    Posted on Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 9:06pm
  20. Not all of the government leaders here in Utah are like Chris Butters, thank God!

    Posted on Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 10:25pm