Arkansas State Senate Passes Bill To Defund Sex Education

Abortion foes in the Arkansas State Senate passed a bill yesterday to ban certain funding grants to Planned Parenthood.  The chosen grants heading to the chopping block?  Sex education. Which sucks, because Planned Parenthood provided the state’s sex ed.

According to Think Progress, Arkansas lacks a codified set of sex education requirements, which is why Planned Parenthood stepped in to do HIV/AIDS and STD/STI education in the state.  A Republican health education teacher, and assistant football coach, Darrell Seward, told the Huffington Post over the phone:

“I would challenge any legislator or politician in the state of Arkansas or higher to set foot in my classroom and listen to the curriculum and walk out and say it’s a bad program.  This program has been one of the most well-received programs that our students have ever been engaged in. I am a Republican, but this is one issue I feel very strongly about, because I see the benefit for our kids.”

So why take away these funds?  Well because the bill’s sponsor doesn’t like any state funding to go to any organization that has anything to do with abortion or abortion referrals.   

Oh, Arkansas, Arkansas, Arkansas.  Where do I begin?  Should I start with the state’s alarmingly high HIV and teen pregnancy rates?  I wasn’t sure it was possible, but if the hopes and dreams of a few Republican members of the State Senate come true, these statistics will probably rise. And if teenagers are not educated about sexual education, abortions will probably rise, too! (I should also mention that Arkansas has one of the strictest abortion laws in the country: the ban on abortions after 12 weeks is currently being challenged in court with lawsuits by the ACLU and Center for Reproductive Rights.)

The bill’s next step is to the State House of Representatives, which is controlled by Democrats.  There rests the fate of sex education in Arkansas. Wish them luck.

[New York Times]
[Huffington Post]
[Arkansas Matters]

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