With passage of AB 337/SB 237, expected to be signed by Gov. Scott Walker, abstinence-only sex education will become an acceptable standard in schools. The new bill notes that local school boards choosing to offer human development classes are to teach “abstinence as the preferred choice of behavior for unmarried pupils”; emphasize that “abstinence is the only reliable way to prevent pregnancy and avoid sexually transmitted infections”; provide instruction in “parental responsibility and the socioeconomic benefits of marriage.”
Additionally, the bill prohibits volunteers from providing “instruction in human growth and development.” Such instruction had been offered by Planned Parenthood in public schools. AB 337/SB 237 also permits students to be separated, by gender, for human development instruction.
Those who opposed the legislation said it did not take into account that many Wisconsin students are sexually active. However, that is not expecting the best from our children — or for our children. And face it, isn’t abstinence what every parent really wants from their school-age children? Now that’s what our schools will teach.
The second bill that passed the Assembly (61-34) on March 13 was SB 92, “prohibiting coverage of abortions through health plans sold through health exchanges.” The bill, passed by the state Senate in October, addresses federal health care reform legislation passed in 2010. This legislation requires health insurance providers to include elective abortions in their coverage — unless a state formally opts out. With passage of SB 92, Wisconsin joins more than a dozen other states to opt out of the health exchange requirement, which goes into effect in 2014.
Finally, on March 15, the Assembly passed (60-33) SB 306, dealing with voluntary and informed consent for women seeking abortions. SB 306 also bans the practice — occurring in other states, but not presently in Wisconsin — known as “web-cam abortions.” In these, a woman consults a physician via a video link. The physician then remotely dispenses the abortion-inducing drug, RU-486.
Opposing this, SB 306 requires a physical exam by the physician and that the physician also interviews the woman privately, to ascertain whether she is being coerced into an abortion. Additionally, the bill requires a follow-up visit with the physician 12 to 18 days after RU-486 has been dispensed.
Finally, SB 306 removes legal penalties, on the state statutes for decades, for any woman obtaining an abortion.
Barbara Sella, associate director for respect life and social concerns for the Wisconsin Catholic Conference, praised both bills, calling them “the result of cooperation and hard work by a number of pro-life organizations. These victories remind us of what is possible when we work together.”
Let’s pray for continued signs of a new springtime in support of measures defending life and health.