OUR VIEW: Talking about condoms

Thursday , April 19, 2012 - 2:18 PM

Editorial Board

A few weeks ago, Gov. Gary Herbert correctly vetoed an attempt by the Utah Legislature to virtually end sex education in Utah high schools. The national Center for Disease Control has released statistics that underscore why it is so important that sexual education standards be raised in our state.

Utah ranks 45th among the 50 states in high school students being informed about the use of condoms as a birth control and sexually transmitted disease preventer. They need to know where to obtain them and how to effectively use them.

About 11 percent of Utah students have this information. That needs to be increased. To do so, more teachers need to provide this type of information to students who, according to Utah law, have parents who approve of their receiving sex education. Providing information about condoms is not an endorsement of sexual activity. In fact, Utah law makes it illegal for teachers to advocate for or encourage the use of condoms.

While those restrictions are counterproductive, in our opinion, they do not stand as a barrier to getting kids information that can prevent sexually transmitted diseases or unwanted pregnancies. Making sure students know this information is crucial to stopping unwanted children, health problems, abuse, poverty, and other dysfunctions that result from teen promiscuity.

There's no doubt that the low numbers in Utah for students being taught sex education topics is due to current laws, as well as a culture that, commendably, discourages extramarital sex.

We agree with virtually everyone that the best solution is for teens not to have sex, and for parents and guardians to be responsible for teaching their children about sex, its risks, and the most effective birth control measures. But we all know that not all children can rely on responsible adults. That's why we need to encourage more parents to allow their children to be taught sex education, and we need more teachers to make sure effective sex education is taught.

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