Tuesday, July 9, 2013

TX Bill To Reform Abortion Through Abstinence Ed.

Career politician Jessica Farrar, D-Houston, proposed a bill designed to reduce abortions by pushing abstinence in Texas public schools. HB 42, filed during Texas 83rd Legislature's Second Special Session is worded to apply to one of the session's three stated purposes.

HB 42 is a push to mandate that abstinence not only be taught during human sexuality (sex education) classes in public schools, but that it be the method of contraception taught primarily in those classes. [In Texas bills, the underlined portions are the proposed changes to currently enacted laws or policies. Full Text of HB 42 is available here.]

         (1)  a summary of the basic content of the district's human sexuality instruction to be provided to the student, including a statement informing the parent that the instruction is required by [of the instructional requirements under] state law to: 
                   (A)  present abstinence from sexual activity as the preferred choice of behavior in relationship to all sexual activity for unmarried persons of school age; and
                   (B)  devote more attention to abstinence from sexual activity than to any other behavior;
             (2)  a statement of whether the instruction is considered by the district to be abstinence-only instruction or comprehensive instruction, including an explanation of the difference between those types of instruction and a specific statement regarding whether the student will receive information on contraception;

The bill states that parents are to be informed of the curricula used by the independent school districts. They are to be informed if the human sexuality classes will instruct "abstinence only" or teach a comprehensive class on contraception that highlights abstinence as the most effective and preferred method.

In the bill's preamble, Farrar lists a statistical high percentage of second unwanted pregnancies among teens in Texas. She also highlights the costs of not only abortions, but subsidy burdens the children brought to term place upon the taxpayers. [Emphasis added -- Full text of HB 42 available here]

             (1)  Texas led the nation in 2010 in the rate of teenage girls who had second children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;
             (2)  approximately 22 percent of births in Texas and 18.3 percent of births in the United States by girls age 15 to 19 were repeat births in 2010, compared to 19.5 percent in the United States in 2007; 
             (3)  an estimated 80 percent of teen births are unintended and cost American taxpayers approximately $11 billion a year and cost Texas taxpayers $1.2 billion in 2008, according to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy;
             (4)  the only certain way to avoid the termination of an unwanted pregnancy is to prevent the unwanted pregnancy;

Reportedly, Farrar is a devout Catholic who has served as a state representative since she was 27 (in 1994). She is currently in her 10th term. Though being a government insider for nearing 20 years, she has alleged other politicians are "out of touch". Given her tenure in the Texas House, the allegations are likely cases of an nonagenarian calling a sexagenarian "old".

She claims that abstinence is the best form of protection from unwanted pregnancies and HIV infections to unwed teens. Catholic parochial schools tend to push that ideology, already.

It is a pro-choice bill, of a sort. It is one that intends to indoctrinate children of their possible choices, the possible consequences, and the best way to mitigate or avoid those consequences.

HB42 is among the list of sidebar bills proposed in the Second Special Session. While this makes an attempt to attach itself to the stated purpose for the session, that is just an attempt at obfuscation. Like other potentially favorable sidebar bills proposed, HB 42 is probably better left to a more appropriate regular legislative session.