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Law requires teaching condom use to children

State Rep. Nancy Todd, D-Aurora

Public schools soon will be required to teach students how to use condoms “or other means of contraception” under a plan already approved by the Legislature and heading towards the desk of Gov. Bill Ritter, who has expressed support.

Citing the requirement for the state’s “public peace, health and safety,” Colorado lawmakers have approved the proposal sponsored by Rep. Nancy Todd, D-Aurora, regarding “the adoption of science-based content standards for instruction regarding human sexuality.”

Citing statistics from Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, it requires any school that provides sex education classes to include the information on condoms and other contraception, including “emergency contraception.”

The proposal will mean a “comprehensive condom, contraception and copulation” curriculum for all students, state Sen. Shawn Mitchell, R-Broomfield, told the Rocky Mountain News.

“If people knew what we were talking about in here – math, science and condoms – they would be horrified,” said Sen. Mike Kopp, R-Littleton. He was referring to the recent termination by the legislature of plans to require competency in math, science and English.

The plan would allow schools to opt out of teaching any sex education, but would mandate for any that choose to provide any information the inclusion of the how-to instructions.

The Denver Post reported that Planned Parenthood’s evaluation of Colorado discovered that in Wray, school officials were among the nearly one-third of Colorado school districts that skipped condom instructions and focused on abstinence.

“We don’t teach that kind of material … not as graphic as what the new law is saying,” Supt. Ron Howard told the Post.

But Todd told the Post that the school children want to have the information. “It’s we as adults who shy away from giving information because we are uncomfortable,” she told the Post.

Minority Republicans in the Legislature said it is an unnecessary intrusion into the concept of local control for school districts, and some school officials agreed.

“It bothers us the state is wanting to legislate what is being taught in schools about methods of birth control, about sexually transmitted disease,” Center Supt. George Welch told the Post. “Why not trust that we in Center …can make this decision?”

Supporters reported that they wanted to cut teen pregnancies by requiring schools to provide the condom and other contraceptive information, and while the law technically still allows school courses to “emphasize” abstinence, the technical how-to information must be provided to students.

The new requirements go further too, in that they will include information for students on how to avoid “unwanted verbal, physical, and sexual advances” and how to avoid “making unwanted verbal, physical, and sexual advances.”

“In providing a teen pregnancy prevention program that provides instruction concerning human sexuality, [schools] shall adopt science-based content standards,” the proposal requires.

“The general assembly hereby finds, determines, and declares that this act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, and safety,” it concludes.

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Previous commentary:

Abstinence? Who needs it?