URGENT: Give our children a chance to get reproductive health education (HB 215)

Utahns, today you have a chance to support much-needed and long overdue state legislation, HB 215, to help our children have the chance to learn about reproductive health and healthy relationships in age appropriate ways. This bill is being heard in the House Education Standing Committee meeting this afternoon at 3:40pm at 30 House Building.
What is HB 215: Reproductive Health Education and Services Amendments (Rep. King)?

HB 215 gives the option for public school parents to “opt in” to comprehensive education about reproductive health and healthy relationships. The age-appropriate local curricula will be based on generally accepted scientific standards of evidence and core standards developed by the State Board of Education in consultation with local school boards, school superintendents, teachers, employers, and parents, including input via public hearings.

Why is this bill important? 
Utah’s current public sex education can only promote abstinence. Teachers cannot advocate for safe sex, they are not obligated to teach consent, and they only teach a narrow scope of heterosexual relationships within the bonds of marriage. This abstinence-only method is shown nationally to be ineffective at promoting abstinence, preventing child sexual abuse or curbing STI rates and teen pregnancy. By contrast, HB215’s opt-in offerings are shown to delay the initiation of sex, reduce STIs, and reduce sexual assault by teaching consent. It also makes space for the LGBTQ community as well as other issues impacting women, including infertility.
What does “opt-in” mean? 
Opt-in means parents have a choice about whether or not to enroll their children in the healthy relationships program in public schools. Any parent who prefers abstinence-only offerings need do nothing. Parents interested in enrolling a child must opt their child in to the comprehensive curriculum. In other educational areas, Utah regularly empowers parent and student choice. Making the program “opt-in” empowers parents by giving them the ability to choose what is best for their child without forcing any families to participate nor leaving families who desire it without reproductive health education options.
HB 137: Public Education Curriculum Requirements (Rep. Stratton) – the opposite of reproductive health education
HB 137, also being considered by the House Education Standing Committee today, would require public schools to teach abstinence only and would prohibit teaching children about sexual abuse without written parental consent, encouraging or advocating for the use of contraceptives or answering children’s questions about reproductive health issues.

CALL TO ACTION

You can help our children get a good reproductive health education by supporting HB 215 and opposing HB 137 in two ways:
  • Show up to the House Education Standing Committee meeting TODAY AT 3:40PM, 30 House Building (map). Just showing up and being a head in the room is helpful for showing community support for the importance and need of this bill. HB 137 is first up on the agenda, followed by HB 215. If you have a personal experience or some expertise in this arena to help demonstrate the need for good reproductive health education in Utah, please consider testifying. Testimony can be anywhere from 1-3 minutes long, so you will need to practice saying your message efficiently beforehand and be prepared for questions. Contact us if you are interested in testifying.
  • Text or email the House Education Committee members BEFORE 3:40PM to ask them to support HB 215: Reproductive Health Education and Services Amendments and oppose HB 137: Public Education Curriculum Requirements.
To support HB 215 you can say something like this (please personalize):
Sample text for general citizen: 
I’m a constituent from (ZIP or DISTRICT #) contacting you to support HB215: Reproductive Heath Education & Services Amendments. 
This opt-in offering will allow parents to choose what reproductive health education is best for their children. The proposed opt-in curriculum is shown to delay the initiation of sex and protect children from sexual abuse by teaching consent. The program would also likely decrease the rates of STIs in Utah which are sky-rocketing by comparison to national trends.  
Sample text for a parent: 
I’m a constituent from (ZIP or DISTRICT #) contacting you to support HB215: Reproductive Heath Education & Services Amendments. 
As a parent, I deserve to opt in to the reproductive health program that best represents the interest of my family. I want my child to be taught consent that is shown to delay initiation of sex and also protect against sexual abuse. I also think that HB215 could address Utah’s comparatively high rates of STIs where comprehensive curriculum has demonstrated effectiveness.
  •  While you’re at it, please also call on the House Education Committee members to OPPOSE HB 137: Public Education Curriculum Requirements (Rep. Stratton), being considered by the committee at the same meeting today. This bill would require public schools to teach abstinence only, would prohibit teaching children about sexual abuse without written parental consent, advocating for the use of contraceptives and answering children’s questions about reproductive health issues.

To oppose HB 137, you can say something like this (please personalize):

Please oppose HB 137: Public Education Curriculum Requirements. Too often children who are sexually abused don’t know that what is happening to them is wrong and illegal. HB 137 prevents children from having the information they need to stay safe and healthy.

E-mails for the House Education Committee: 

Phone Numbers for the House Education Committee:


One thought on “URGENT: Give our children a chance to get reproductive health education (HB 215)

  1. I live in the 84105 zip code area of Salt Lake City and I very much support HB215. Adolescents are often misinformed regarding sexuality, and lack of information can lead to vulnerability to be abused. Additionally, kids need to protect themselves from STDs

    Please support HB215. Ignorance is not bliss.

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