Sex Ed Bill Encourages Frank Discussions of Non-Reproductive Acts

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BOSTON — A sex-education bill floating around on Beacon Hill is drawing the ire of a conservative pro-family organization.

The bill, dubbed “An Act Relative to Healthy Youth,” includes an updated curriculum for sex education for public schools in Massachusetts. It is scheduled to be discussed at a public hearing on Thursday morning, more than a year after the state Senate passed an earlier version.

The measure does not mandate that school districts teach the updated sex education curriculum, but requires participating districts to provide teachings that are in accord with “medically accurate, age-appropriate material” based on the Massachusetts Health Curriculum framework.

Andrew Beckwith, executive director of the Massachusetts Family Institute, told New Boston Post earlier this week that he was “outraged” when he reviewed the material. An example that caught Beckwith’s attention is material deemed “age appropriate” for seventh-graders that explains how to use plastic “non-microwavable Saran Wrap” as a substitute for a condom when engaging in non-reproductive sex acts. An additional example involves details teaching seventh graders on “proper condom usage” when engaging in vaginal or anal sex.

“Is it age-appropriate to introduce 12-year-old children to anal sex?” Beckwith pondered in a recent interview.

Beckwith pointed out that Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts is one of the bill’s biggest backers and will be providing the bulk of the coursework, if the bill is enacted.

School districts that adopt the framework will be subjected to the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s full control, with the DESE commissioner having the authority to update the curriculum.

When the bill passed the Senate, an amendment added by Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) stipulated that school districts provide parents with at least a 30-day advance notice in which they can review materials.

The Senate adopted Tarr’s amendment, but another amendment offered by Tarr that would have required parents and guardians to sign an opt-in form before their children can enter the program failed to pass.

Thursday’s public hearing is slated to begin at 10 a.m. at the State House.

Beckwith said he will be testifying against the bill.