Bill touts abstinence in public schools
By Lee Warren
February 22, 2005
JEFFERSON CITY – State Rep. Cynthia Davis, R-O’Fallon, doesn’t buy into the old cliché that “teens are going to do it.” Current Missouri law requires public schools to inform students about “all forms of contraception” if they are going to teach students about human sexuality. Davis wants to change that with House Bill 34—a bill that would require public schools to stop teaching about contraception.
“It’s like saying that all drivers’ education classes have to include a unit on the proper use of the radar detector,” Davis said. “That’s not appropriate use of state government.”
Rodney Albert, chairman, Missouri Baptist Convention’s Christian Life Commission, agrees with Davis and applauds her efforts.
“Representative Davis rightly understands the need for abstinence-based education and she has demonstrated courageous leadership in sponsoring this legislation,” Albert said. “You don’t push Planned Parenthood (which is in opposition to HB 34) without some degree of cost. The CLC urges each Missouri Baptist and all Christians to contact their legislators to urge them to support this bill.”
Davis wants the public to know that HB 34 isn’t intended to force Missouri public schools to teach human sexuality. Instead, HB 34 would remove the contraception provision from a law passed in 1999 that gave Missouri public schools specific guidelines that they were to follow if they choose to teach students about human sexuality.
“My bill is not an addition of any words,” Davis said. “It’s actually a removal of a tumor that really makes the rest of (the 1999 law) malignant.”
The tumor that Davis is referring to in the 1999 law is this clause: “Present students with the latest medically factual information regarding both the possible side effects and health benefits of all forms of contraception, including the success and failure rates for the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.”
By removing this clause, the 1999 law would require Missouri public schools that choose to teach students about human sexuality to focus on the abstinence and the hazards of sexual promiscuity portions of the 1999 law while prohibiting public schools from delving into the area of contraception.
“Many Missourians, even those from a non-Christian perspective, have come to understand the myth of ‘safe sex,’” Albert said. “The only sex that is safe is God’s sex—one man and one woman in a monogamous marriage relationship. Everything else is risky behavior. There are dozens upon dozens of sexually transmitted diseases that no contraception can protect our teenagers from. The emotional damage done to promiscuous teenagers is never addressed and certainly the spiritual ramifications are completely ignored. This bill helps neutralize the monopoly of professional sex advocates like Planned Parenthood that benefit financially by teenage sexual promiscuity.”
MBC Family Ministries Specialist Joe Ulveling said it would be both wise and healthy for Missouri lawmakers to apply more of what the Bible teaches about intimate relations.
“God’s Word commands us to flee sexual immorality,” Ulveling said. “A lot of times what we accept is what media allows. That’s not good.”
Davis recently asked House Speaker Rod Jetton, R-Marble Hill, to prioritize the bill. She said that it is still early, but that she feels optimistic about the possibilities of HB 34 passing.
Davis sees HB 34 as the equivalent of telling a 2-year-old boy with a knife in his hand on the verge of putting it into his mouth to stop.
“You could argue that, ‘Well, 2-year-olds are going to play with stuff,’” Davis said with her tongue firmly planted in her cheek. “Let’s find a way for them to play with Exacto knives that have covers on them.’”
The CLC supports HB 34 because it sees the fallacy of such an argument.
“The end result of HB 34 is teenagers who are physically healthier, emotionally stronger and spiritually purer,” Albert said. “Teenagers have demonstrated that if we expect them to behave like animals, they will. But when we raise the bar and expect them to behave with dignity and sexual purity, they will. HB 34 will help strengthen the call to abstinence and I believe thousands of Missouri’s public school teenagers will step up to that call. HB 34 deserves our support.”