The Senate Public Health Committee hears a bill at 3 p.m. today that could prevent thousands of Montana public school students from getting the education they need to stay healthy and prevent unwanted pregnancies.

House Bill 239 would make it illegal for public school students to be given sexual education unless they have written approval from their parents. It's already passed in the House.

We oppose this bill. It's dangerous for our youth.

In Montana curriculum decisions are usually left to local school boards and this bill oversteps those bounds.
More importantly it draws an arbitrary line that denies students access to critical health information. There are many lesson plans that parents might not like, but we don't allow them to opt their students in or out of math classes, science or social studies. Sex education is a critical component of our children's education and it should not be treated any differently.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Public Health Association and the American Medical Association all support providing students with medically accurate sex education.

Some districts may even use some parents objections to eliminate sex education altogether rather than tracking which students can and cannot attend.

This bill is wrong for our schools and wrong for our youth.

Hearings and floor sessions can be accessed online.