Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Texas Bill Bans Abortion Providers From Schools

A bill proposed in the Texas Senate would, in effect, ban abortion providers or their affiliates from teaching "human sexuality" or "family planning" in public and open-enrollment charter schools. SB 521 includes in this ban any entity that has a direct affiliation with an abortion-performing or advocating entity.

SB 521 passed its committee votes with recommendation for final floor vote at a vote of 7 "yes" to two "nay" votes. 

The bill also places requirements on those schools to require parental permission for any such classes given by any entity that is not a direct employee of the school or the district. This would include requiring permission before any contracted company provides such a curriculum. The notice must be presented to parents at least 14 days prior to the scheduled day of instruction. The permission form must be separate from any other permission slip. In other words, a field trip permission slip cannot be combined with the permission slip that allows students to receive "human sexuality" or "family planning" instruction.

The benefits of this bill is that it places more authority back where it belongs, as parental decision.

Here is the pertinent bill text as proposed:

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
AN ACT
relating to the provision of and parental approval for a student's participation in human sexuality and family planning instruction in public schools.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:     

SECTION 1.  Section 28.004, Education Code, is amended by adding Subsections (e-1), (e-2), and (i-2) to read as follows:
 
       (e-1)  An entity or individual that performs abortions or an affiliate of an entity or individual that performs abortions may not provide human sexuality or family planning instruction or instructional materials for use in human sexuality or family planning instruction in a public school.
 
       (e-2)  For purposes of Subsection (e-1), "affiliate" means an entity or individual that has a legal relationship with another entity or individual that is created or governed by at least one written instrument that demonstrates:
 
             (1)  common ownership, management, or control;
 
             (2)  the existence of a franchise; or
 
             (3)  the granting or extension of a license or other agreement that authorizes the affiliate to use the entity's or individual's brand name, trademark, service mark, or other registered identification mark.
 
       (i-2)  Before a student may be provided with human sexuality or family planning instruction from an entity or individual other than an employee of a school district, the district must obtain the written consent of the student's parent or guardian.  A request for written consent under this subsection:
 
             (1)  may not be included with any other notification or request for written consent provided to the parent or guardian;
 
             (2)  must be provided to the parent or guardian not later than the 14th day before the date on which the human sexuality or family planning instruction begins; and
 
             (3)  must include the information described by Subsection (i)(1) and the name of the entity or individual who will provide the instruction.


The bill references transparency in regards to current and future curricula dealing with the subjects of "human sexuality" and "family planning". Texas educational code already requires these curricula be made available to parents for review. Here is the applicable portion of Texas Section 28.004, Education Code, Subsection (i):

(i)   A school district shall notify a parent of each student 
enrolled in the district of:
  (1)  the basic content of the district's human 
sexuality instruction to be provided to the student;  and
  (2)  the parent's right to remove the student from any 
part of the district's human sexuality instruction.