Ban on Planned Parenthood from teaching sex ed fails in House Committee

A bill to ban organizations like Planned Parenthood from teaching sex education in public schools failed in a House Committee Tuesday.

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Rep. Liz Vazquez, R-Anchorage, during a floor session of the Alaska House of Representatives, March 29, 2016. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)
Rep. Liz Vazquez, R-Anchorage, during a floor session of the Alaska House of Representatives, March 29, 2016. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)

Senate Bill 89, which would require parents to opt their kids into sex ed lessons, was introduced by Sen. Mike Dunleavy and narrowly passed House Education last month.

On Tuesday afternoon the Health and Social Services Committee, chaired by
Rep. Paul Seaton, heard over two hours of heated public testimony on both
sides before putting the measure to a vote.

Vice-Chair Rep. Liz Vazquez, an Anchorage Republican, told the committee
she supports the bill because she believes Planned Parenthood curriculum
contains graphic material that many families would find offensive.

“I’ll be blunt: I’m a bit shocked by what I have found,” Vazquez said. “I find that the materials are culturally insensitive. By that I mean it is insulting, it is degrading to traditional cultures. They are traditional Muslim cultures, traditionaly Hispanic, southeast Asian, and African cultures. This is very insulting.”

Rep. Geran Tarr opposed the bill, citing the need for comprehensive sexual
education in a state with high rates of domestic violence and sexual
assault.

Tarr also noted that parents currently have the right to take their kids
out of lessons if they wish.

The bill failed in the committee 2-5, with Vice-Chair Vasquez and Rep.
Talerico voting for it.

Two similar bills – S.B. 191 and H.B. 352 – are still moving through the
Legislature.