As pro-family citizens emailed and called their legislators about HB 3793, its sponsor, Representative James O’Day, (See his 100% approval rating from NARAL.) sent out an email (You can read the full email HERE.) to all the representatives on Beacon Hill. He desperately tried to reassure his colleagues that the Sex Ed Mandate “would NOT interfere with local control.” Unfortunately, that simply isn’t true. Here’s how it works:
1. Under HB 3793, the Sex Ed Mandate, “Each school district or public school that offers sexual health education [which is the overwhelming majority of schools in MA] shall provide medically accurate, age-appropriate education.”
2. What is “age appropriate,” as required by the bill?
- The proposed language gives what is essentially a circular definition: “Age-appropriate means topics, messages, and teaching methods suitable to particular ages or age groups of children and adolescents, based on developing cognitive, emotional, and behavioral capacity typical for the age and age group;”
- Bottom Line: Age-appropriateness is only listed in the comprehensive frameworks and is ultimately interpreted by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education!
3. Mandatory Reporting: How does the Department of Education become the arbiter of what the definition of “age appropriate” actually means for your child? According to the bill, each school “…shall file a report regarding sexual health education in the district with the department every year by a date and in a format determined by the board.” HB 3793 Section 3(a)
4. Why does the Department of Education want these mandated reports on your school’s sex ed programs? To ensure “compliance,” and that’s where the frameworks and Planned Parenthood come into play.
- “Any school district or public school that utilizes the curricula consistent with the Massachusetts comprehensive health curriculum framework shall be presumed to be in compliance with this section.” HB 3793 Section 1(3)
- However, it is surely no coincidence that the Department of Education is already promoting sex ed curriculum by Planned Parenthood and another organization staffed by former Planned Parenthood employees.
Under current law, your local school district can implement any curriculum they deem appropriate for your community. This includes curriculum consistent with the Health Frameworks, if that is desired. There is NO NEED to change this and force new standards on every school in the Commonwealth.
ABORTION: Rep. O’Day is also simply wrong when he claims that his bill “does NOT allow schools to teach young girls how to get abortions without parental consent.” In fact, his bill would require it. Health Frameworks Standard 4.b., which must be met in grades 9-12, requires schools to “[e]xplain the laws and relevant court rulings concerning rights about consensual sexual relationships and reproduction (e.g. Roe v. Wade, Bowers v. Hardwick).” As the reference to Roe v. Wade demonstrates, this would clearly involve teaching students about the Mass. General Laws chapt.112, section 12S, which includes specific provisions governing consent to abortion for persons under 18 years of age.
- As described by the MA DPH manual: “If an adolescent cannot obtain or does not want to request parental consent, she may seek authorization for an abortion from a Superior Court judge.” The Comprehensive School Health Manual, Chapt. 12, Reproductive Health, MA Department of Public Health.
Amazingly, Rep. O’Day’s email claims that his bill would “NOT dictate the age or grade level when health education begins.” In reality, that is EXACTLY what it does. The Health Frameworks are a list of standards, like Standard 4.b discussed above, that curriculum must address by specific grade levels.
- For example, if your school district wanted to begin discussing “behaviors and methods for pregnancy prevention” (Standard 4.8) in high school, the Health Frameworks would require that it be discussed no later than middle school.