Ohio Republicans propose restrictions on sex ed that promotes “gateway activity”

Today, Republicans on the Ohio House Finance Committee voted to adopt changes to the two-year state budget that will significantly restrict the teaching of sexual education in the state, mandating an abstinence-only approach.

According to a  provided by the Committee Chairman, Representative Ron Amstutz, the measure would:

prohibit the teaching of sexual education coursework that endorses non-abstinence as an acceptable behavior or promotes sexual gateway activity.

What’s sexual gateway activity? The summary included with the amendment (full text) defines it as sexual contact with erogenous zones, as defined in Ohio’s criminal statutes as follows:

ORC 2907.01(B) “Sexual contact” means any touching of an erogenous zone of another, including without limitation the thigh, genitals, buttock, pubic region, or, if the person is a female, a breast, for the purpose of sexually arousing or gratifying either person.

Discouraged behavior, according to new Ohio budget language.
Discouraged behavior, according to new Ohio budget language.

The language also states that class instruction in Ohio may not provide materials that condone sexual activity among unmarried students. It even allows a parent to sue if an educator violates the restrictive provisions in the law.

In short, the state budget now mandates that Ohio adopt an abstinence-only approach to sex education program.

But abstinence education doesn’t work. Research shows this. Teen pregnancies are highest in states with abstinence-only sex education. By contrast, teens who have had comprehensive sex education are 60 percent less likely to become pregnant.

In a state budget that already defunds Planned Parenthood and directs tax dollars to Crisis Pregnancy Centers that lie to women, Ohio lawmakers are moving the state in the wrong direction for Ohio’s women and young people.