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Notes from the Hill


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A coalition named “Care for Youth” is clamoring to pass a dangerous bill on Beacon Hill that will affect all children in the public schools. Organized by Planned Parenthood, the state’s largest abortion provider, this coalition is dominated by numerous groups that believe that teens should have the choice to engage in “consensual” premarital sex, use contraception, and get abortions. The priority of “Care for Youth” in 2008 is to pass the “Health Education” Bill (Senate 288/House 597). Here’s some background and directions on how concerned citizens can help defeat the bill.

Its sponsors tout the bill as a “health and safety” measure, giving kids the opportunity to learn about good nutrition, exercise and avoiding substance abuse in mandatory health education classes. But hidden in the mandate is a command to teach about sexuality and “reproductive health” issues. The local school districts would have to follow a state curriculum guideline called the Massachusetts Health Curriculum Frameworks. While many parts of the guideline are commendable, many others raise serious moral concerns.

For example, all schools would have to cover such topics as choosing “consensual” premarital sex and how teens can get abortions without parental knowledge. No school system would be able to opt out. Kids from kindergarten to senior high would be exposed to sexuality teaching that opposes the values and principles of many concerned parents, especially those following the Catholic faith.

The Joint Committee on Education must report on the bill by March 19 but may act anytime before then. If given committee approval, then the bill would go to the Senate and House. The Legislature will recess July 31, so floor debates and votes could be scheduled at any time through the end of July.

Members of the “Care for Youth” Coalition created by Planned Parenthood are alerting their followers to contact legislators. The Statehouse must start hearing from those opposed to the bill!

Please contact both your state representative and state senator and tell them that you oppose the “Health Education” bill (S.288/H.597). To reach your legislators by phone, call the Statehouse switchboard at 617-722-2000. Senate and House e-mail information is available at http://www.mass.gov/legis/. Mail letters to: Hon. ___, Statehouse, Boston MA 02155.

If you don’t know who your legislators are, find out by going online to the Secretary of State’s Web site at http://www.wheredoivotema.com/bal/myelectioninfo.php. The Statehouse switchboard operator has this information as well.

Also, call the Joint Committee on Education before it acts and ask that the bill be given an unfavorable report. The phone number for the Joint Committee on Education is 617-722-2070. Finally, get your family and friends, especially concerned parents of children in the public schools, to contact their legislators and voice their opposition.

Here are some key points to remember: 1) Parents have the primary responsibility to teach their children sound moral values and should not be forced to compete with curricula in the public schools dictated by leading advocates for contraception and abortion. 2) While the right of parents to opt their children out of sexuality education would remain, many parents may not realize in advance the dangers posed by the approach envisioned by the frameworks and its advocates. 3) The bill would tie the hands of local school boards by imposing a statewide sexuality education mandate. 4) Sexuality education is best guided not by a “one-size-fits-all” approach but by parents who, together with school administrators and teachers, can tailor the local curriculum to meet individual student needs.

Stay informed by visiting the Massachusetts Catholic Conference (MCC) Web site at www.macathconf.org and clicking on the link for “Update and Info on the Health Ed Bill.” Also, Linda Thayer, a former science teacher in the public schools and advisor to the MCC on sexuality education issues, is a knowledgeable resource who is willing to speak to individuals and groups about the “Health Education” Bill and what it means for parents and children. Call the MCC Office at 617-367-6060 for more information.

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