SB 1009, being heard today, Monday, March 12, in the House Education Committee, requires schools to promote childbirth and adoption over abortion. It is inappropriate to discuss a preference for pregnancy outcomes — ANY outcome — as a part of a sex education curriculum. That is a private decision best left to teens and their parents.
As we know, Arizonans want solutions to the devastating number of teen pregnancies in our state. We must work to reduce risky behaviors and help our youth develop life skills that will motivate them and encourage healthy lifestyle choices. We must engage youth and parents in an effort to address sexual risk-taking behaviors!
It is time to begin the conversation about preventing unplanned pregnancies. Many in the Arizona legislature are so fixated on abortion that they are failing our children! We must work to prevent the need for abortion by increasing access to family planning and teaching kids about how to keep themselves healthy. Knowledge is power. The best decisions are informed ones and we are not doing our kids any favors by keeping them in the dark about sexuality.
In fact, we are harming them, as is evidenced by the fact that Arizona has an estimated 25 percent of teens infected with a sexually transmitted disease (STD) and the third highest teen pregnancy rate in the United States with over 20,000 pregnant 15- to 19-year-olds. This is a completely preventable epidemic.
The numbers don’t lie:
Ninety-nine percent of Americans agree that young people should be provided with medically accurate information about STDs, and 94 percent of Americans believe young people should learn about birth control.
More than 8 out of 10 Americans believe that young people should be taught how to use, and where to obtain, contraceptives.
More than 80 percent of Americans believe that comprehensive sex education programs, which emphasize abstinence but also encourage condom and contraceptive use, should be implemented in school.