The Mississippi State Legislature is debating on how to move forward with its public school sexual education curriculum. Until this year, Mississippi allowed individual school districts to choose between one of two approaches.
The first was an abstinence-only curriculum, which focuses on sexual integrity and teaching students the value of abstaining from sexual relations as a means to prevent unintended pregnancy and the spread of disease. The second approach, “abstinence-plus,” allows for the teaching of risk reduction methods such as condoms and birth control but is still expected to encourage abstinence as the preferred means of avoiding risk and preventing pregnancy and disease transmission.
This policy of district self-selection is set to expire in 2016 and the debate is heating up as to whether the legislature should simply renew the current law or replace it with a new law.
According to Dr. Jameson Taylor, Vice President for Policy at the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, organizations known for supporting Planned Parenthood are advocating for a bill that would require all school districts to implement a “personal responsibility” curriculum. While this curriculum might be considered as abstinence-plus, The Affordable Care Act defines this type of curriculum as equally presenting both abstinence and contraception, with one of the stated goals being that it increases condom uses as a means for reducing teen pregnancy.
There is also a bill proposing implementation of a “comprehensive sex education” curriculum, which merely calls for comprehensive, medically accurate and age appropriate education. The bill advocating for “personal responsibility” has already passed through the Senate Education Committee.
Organizations supporting these bills include Women’s Foundation of Mississippi, Amplify Your Voice and Advocates for Youth. The bills for which these groups are lobbying would eliminate the option for an “abstinence-only” curriculum. One bill would require parents opt in to the newly proposed curriculum, while the other bill does not make any mention of parental involvement either way.
State Senator Angela Hill believes that the advocacy for these bills is a way to produce more abortion business for abortion providers like Planned Parenthood, which recently opened up its first and only clinic in the state of Mississippi in Hattiesburg. According to Senator Hill, “the current K-12 personal responsibility bill may be [a] long range plan to bring more pro-abortion influence inside the schools and colleges.”
Planned Parenthood has been lobbying to implement its own sexual education curriculum into school districts across the country. Dr. Taylor and Senator Hill fear that this bill could be pro-abortion groups’ foray into the Mississippi public school system. In the summer of 2014, Live Action released undercover investigations of Planned Parenthood counselors educating teenage girls on unhealthy sexual practices such as bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism (BDSM) along with a “Go Ask Alice” resource page which presents protocol for “safely” engaging in allegedly sexual activities such as playing with feces, drinking urine, and beating one’s partner.
It is unacceptable to allow groups promoting these behaviors access to our young children in Mississippi. School districts should maintain their ability to choose abstinence-focused education and the opportunity to affirm sexual integrity. Please contact Mississippi legislators and let them know your concern for these new bills.