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Teaching Lies?

Teaching Lies?


A bill approved by the Washington State house of representatives and now under consideration by the Republican-controlled senate would mandate that sex education programs in the state provide only 'medically accurate' information'that is, material supported by scientific research of sexual health experts. The legislation, approved 52'44 by the house on March 7, was introduced after lawmakers heard reports of high school students receiving wildly inaccurate information about birth control and the use of condoms to prevent HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases. Some students who testified before the health care committee hearing on the bill said they had been taught that condoms never work. 'I was lied to in high school,' said Lindsay Scola, a sophomore at the University of Washington. At press time, the senate version of the bill had been referred to the education committee. The state advisory council on HIV has also urged Washington governor Gary Locke to refuse to accept federal grants for educational programs that teach abstinence as the only method to prevent HIV infection and pregnancy. In a letter to Locke, council chairwoman Judith Billings, a former member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS and a onetime state superintendent of public schools, wrote that abstinence-only programs 'do not give students complete information that they need to help them make responsible choices about their sexual activity. To deny them a balanced program that offers lifesaving knowledge is irresponsible.'

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