Utah Governor Signs Controversial Law Charging Women and Girls With Murder for Miscarriages
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A statewide poll conducted in September found that 67 percent of Utahns believe comprehensive sex-ed would "likely reduce the number of unintended teen pregnancies." The poll was paid for by Planned Parenthood.
Waitzman says the students at her school aren’t politically active, but this issue has raised awareness and interest.
The same applies to parents, says Lori Harward, founder of PTA Parents for Comprehensive Sex-Ed.
“This is a very hush-hush issue in Utah,” Harward told AlterNet. “Even my good friends get defensive when I talk about it.”
Although she is religious and prefers teaching abstinence, Harward says it is irresponsible not to provide students with comprehensive sex ed.
“It’s time to speak out,” she said. "We’re a predominantly LDS [Latter-day Saints] state. It’s conservative here. I am LDS myself. I go to temple. I totally believe in this church. I believe in abstinence only, but I have four girls and I would be a fool to think that all of my children are going to choose abstinence. I grew up in this state and almost everyone was having sex. Let’s get real."
Parents and students in favor of comprehensive sex education showed up on the day the Senate was supposed to debate the bill late last month, but instead of being asked to share their opinions and concerns, they were ignored. “I felt so disrespected,” says Waitzman. “Is this what politics is about?”
Despite that disappointing experience, she organized a March for Sexual Education on Saturday in Salt Lake City and plans to continue the fight. “The bill is still alive in the House. We can’t give up. I have a feeling that they would like us to just go away, but that’s not going to happen.”
Rose Aguilar is the host of Your Call , a daily call-in radio show on KALW 91.7 FM in San Francisco and KUSP 88.9 FM in Santa Cruz, and author of Red Highways: A Liberal's Journey into the Heartland .