Utah, California Take Vastly Different Actions concerning Teen Sex Ed

California and Utah are both making changes to their state policies regarding teen sex education. While the House of Representatives in the Beehive State passed a bill that would allow schools to opt out of sex ed, an organization in the Golden State launched a new program that hopes to protect teens from STDs.

In Utah, if bill HB363 becomes law, schools will have the choice of whether or not they will offer classes that provide sexual health information. Furthermore, it will ban teachers at schools that keep sex ed courses from offering information about the use of contraception unless asked a direct question by a student, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

Though the bill passed in the House by a 45-28 vote, it wasn’t without its vocal opponents.

“You cannot speak of abstinence without talking to students about methods of birth control that are not certain, about protecting oneself from [STDs] and all the things that can happen in a negative sense to a young person who engages in sex,” said Rep. Carol Spackman Moss according to the news source. “It’s really immoral not to teach kids about what the consequences are.”

Meanwhile, in California, a new program has come under fire because it offers teens access to condoms. Known as The Condom Access Project, the program launched on Valentine’s Day and allows teenagers to request a mailing that contains 10 condoms, personal lubricant and a brochure with health information, according to KSEE News. Some parents are concerned that this will encourage teens who wouldn’t normally have sex at this point in their lives to try intercourse.

Amy Moy, vice president of public affairs for the Family Health Council, which created the project, disagrees. “We can’t keep our heads in the sand and pretend there isn’t a problem,” she told the news source. “We know teens are engaging and we want to make sure they’re as safe as possible.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year in the United States there are approximately 19 million new cases of sexually transmitted infections. In addition to causing health problems for many Americans, STDs create a financial strain on the health care system. The organization reports that STDs cost the U.S. $17 billion every year.

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