November 2, 2011
Senate Republicans Ignore Scientific Fact, Continue with Neverland Ideals
Madison – Just two weeks after its introduction, Senate Republicans pushed through legislation today that seeks to deny Wisconsin’s youth vital education and health information regarding contraceptives and sexually transmitted disease (STD) prevention.
Senate Bill 237 overturns the Healthy Youth Act, which ensures that all young adults in Wisconsin have access to comprehensive, age appropriate, and medically accurate human growth and development classes. Sen. Chris Larson (D – Milwaukee) strongly advocated for the continuation of comprehensive sex education in neighborhood schools and voted against Senate Bill 237.
“Not teaching our youth comprehensive sex education is like not teaching driver’s safety and praying they’re not going to get into an accident,” said Sen. Larson.
Statistics show that comprehensive sex education is valued by a vast majority of Wisconsinites. According to the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health, approximately 87 percent of Wisconsin voters support requiring comprehensive sex education instruction that includes information about both abstinence and contraception.
The positive impact of the Healthy Youth Act on Wisconsin’s young adults is already evident in Milwaukee. According to the Milwaukee Health Department, Milwaukee’s teen birthrate has dropped dramatically for the second year in a row, from 46.73 births per 1,000 teens in 2008 to 35.68 births per 1,000 teens in 2010.
“Our youth will be forced to fend for themselves and rely on the information provided to them by a Google search unless we seize this opportunity to discuss all important and relevant sexual health issues including prevention of teen pregnancy and STDs,” said Sen. Larson.
Sen. Larson and his democratic colleagues introduced amendments to improve Senate Bill 237. These amendments would have maintained the definition of “medically accurate” found in current law and allowed medical professionals to speak to our children about the facts of reproductive health and their bodies. These amendments were rejected by Senate Republicans.
“The passage of this legislation will simply allow a few bureaucrats to continue their belief that our children live in Neverland and will never grow up,” said Sen. Larson. “Instead of promoting this youth disinformation bill, we should be providing these future adults with the information they need to live long and healthy lives.”