March 01, 2000 05:35pm
Utah Legislature Approves Bill Limiting Sex Education
(SALT LAKE CITY, UT) -- The Utah Legislature gave final approval Wednesday to a bill that restricts sex education to abstinence before marriage and requires students be taught that extramarital sex is a crime in Utah.
The measure now goes to Gov. Mike Leavitt, who has not announced a position on it.
The original bill approved by the House last week also banned any discussion of birth control in public schools. But the Senate on Wednesday amended it to require that students are taught about the failures of contraception.
Republican state Rep. Bill Wright, who sponsored the legislation, said teaching about sex encourages bad behavior.
But Democrats argued the bill ties the hands of teachers and takes away the rights of parents who want their children to learn about avoiding pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
"If this bill becomes law, children are going to learn about this subject on bathroom walls, on the playground, on TV and on the Internet," said Democratic state Sen. Pete Suazo, who voted against it.
The Senate voted 16-13 for the amended version of the bill, sending it back to the House. There, it passed 41-33.