Sex ed bill filed in the Utah State Legislature

Posted at 4:01 PM, Jan 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-27 00:32:44-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- House Minority Leader Brian King has unveiled a bill that he said promotes the teaching of "healthy relationships" while also offering an option for expanded instruction about contraception and sexually transmitted diseases.

House Bill 215 was filed Thursday in the Utah State Legislature. The bill encourages discussion of things like consent, body autonomy and healthy relationships.

"Without having it be a sexual component, I think we need to begin teaching our kids those types of things as young as second, third, fourth grade in age-appropriate ways," Rep. King, D-Salt Lake City, said in a recent interview with FOX 13.

His bill does also include discussion of things like contraception, sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy.

"The bill would add an option for parents in those school districts to opt into a more thorough discussion and disclosure about these things," Rep. King said.

Currently, Utah teaches an abstinence-based sexual education curriculum. Last year, Rep. King ran a "comprehensive sexual education" bill that failed to advance in the Utah State Legislature. Social conservatives opposed that legislation and said they may oppose this latest bill.

Maryann Christensen, the executive director of the Utah Eagle Forum, said Rep. King shared with her a copy of his latest bill, which she was studying. Her group has pushed for sex ed to be taught by parents at home.

"We would like sex ed not taught in schools," she told FOX 13 on Thursday. "If it has to be taught, it should be abstinence only. We have abstinence-based, which is a modification of that."

Christensen said she believed the abstinence-based education that currently is taught in Utah schools is working, with lower pregnancy rates.

"If that's proven result, we don't know why it should go to comprehensive sex ed," she said. "We're told that some parents are asking for comprehensive sex-ed because they don't want to do it? Well, you have resources."

The bill was filed in the Utah State Legislature on Thursday.