March 6, 2019 | Posted in Arkansas Capitol, Legislation | By

This morning the Arkansas Senate Education Committee passed a bill that forces public schools to teach graphic sex-education material to junior high and high school students.

S.B. 304 by Sen. Will Bond (D – Little Rock) and Rep. LeAnne Burch (D – Monticello) requires every school district in Arkansas to offer “evidence based” health courses to 7th – 12th graders that include instruction on preventing pregnancy and sexually-transmitted diseases through abstinence and contraceptives.

We know from experience that the kind of curriculum S.B. 304 mandates won’t actually teach students to be abstinent. Instead it will encourage students to be sexually active.

In the 1990s Governor Bill Clinton and Dr. Joycelyn Elders promoted these same kinds of sex-education programs in Arkansas. Family Council strongly opposed their programs, because they treated every public school student as if he or she would be promiscuous, and they failed to have a meaningful impact on Arkansas’ teen birth rates and teen abortion rates.

A few years ago, the Obama Administration spent millions of taxpayer dollars on “evidence-based” teen pregnancy prevention efforts nationwide. By and large, the program was unsuccessful; in fact, in some cases, students who went through the pregnancy prevention course were more likely to become pregnant afterward — not less likely.

S.B. 304 is just a continuation of these same flawed programs.

Jerry is the founder and president of Family Council. He began Family Council in 1989 after a successful effort to amend the Arkansas Constitution to prevent the use of public funds for abortions. He and his wife reside in Little Rock. They have four sons.