On January 26th of 2018, my opponent, Julie VanOrden, introduced House Bill 414. She had worked closely with a Boise State student, Hannah Gayle, on the bill, along with her liberal professor, Dr. Sara Fry. Its stated purpose:
“(to) remove antiquated language (and) to address, in broad terms, what the study of “sex education” means and who should be involved in planning and revising curriculum.” – House Bill 414 Purpose Statement
“Antiquated” language being scrubbed from the existing state code included: moral responsibility, the important place of the family home, the miracle of life, and self-discipline.
Other “antiquated” terms being removed:
“[T]he primary responsibility for family life and sex education, including moral responsibility, rests upon the home and the church and the schools can only complement and supplement those standards which are established in the family.” – Idaho State Code, 33-1608
This bill received sufficient negative attention from Idahoans concerned about the removal of this important ‘family language’ that VanOrden chose to pull the bill to add some ‘family language’ back in.
The new version of her bill, to become House Bill 579 (H579), was introduced in the House Education Committee on the morning of February 14. It was not available for public review until the afternoon of the February 15 and VanOrden, as the Committee Chair, scheduled her bill for a hearing at 9:00 AM the next morning, February 16th, leaving constituents with little to no time to give input or prepare to attend the hearing.
The ‘family language’ Representative VanOrden added back in confirmed the worst fears of Idaho parents, i.e., that this bill would demote the role of parents and the family in sex education to a secondary rather than the primary role. It read as follows:
“The legislature of the state of Idaho acknowledges the importance of families in all aspects of their children’s education and promotes a strong school-home connection to support the implementation of sex education curriculum that respects community values and encourages family communication.” – H579
House Bill 579 repeatedly diluted the control parents have over sex education in their local school. It changed the language of existing state code in a way that would allow community groups like Planned Parenthood, GLSEN, the ACLU, etc., a legal right to demand a seat at the sex education curriculum table when it was time to review and revise curriculum. It also replaced the term “parents” with “families,” another demotion for parents.
Thankfully, in part because of a strong response from nearly 200 Idaho parents during the afternoon hours of February 15th prior to the hearing, only the Democrats on the committee voted to send the bill to the floor. The Education Committee as a whole, including Representative VanOrden voted to send H579 to ‘General Orders’ to be amended.
Idaho parents learned some important things during the hearing. Most importantly, during the hearing for House Bill 579, it became evident that Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) is the end goal of those behind this bill. Dr. Sarah Fry, the main presenter in favor of the bill, pointed to Maine’s sex education policy as a model for what Idaho should follow. She said:
“Their law is very explicit. They also moved to a comprehensive sex education plan and so there are a lot of layers of the work that they’re doing to have successfully reduced their teen pregnancy rates. So, with that said, this law is just one step of many that we hope might unfold to help address this concern across our state.” – Dr. Sarah Fry, H579 Hearing, Feb 16th, 2018
Joy McKinnon, a lobbyist from the National Organization for Women (NOW) also testified in favor of the bill and in favor of CSE. NOW is a radical feminist organization that often partners with Planned Parenthood.
We also learned following the hearing that NOW had officially supported the bill, sending the following comments out to their membership via email:
“We had a guest (BSU professor) there to talk about a bill she is working on to change/update sex education standards. . . Right now she has Van Orden, chair of the Senate committee, who is a Republican, as the sponsor. While we totally support this bill, we all decided that our public support at this time would be counter productive. If the Chair is the sponsor, this bill has a good chance of passing. However, if a group that is seen as progressive (like NOW or Planned Parenthood) comes out loudly in support, it may scare away the Republicans from voting for it. Our approach will be to have them keep us informed, but we wait until they want us to get involved. We may launch an email campaign encouraging their own legislators to support it later, but at this early stage, it is better for us to stay in the background.” – NOW Legislative Strategy Email, Jan 30th, 2018
Why would NOW and Planned Parenthood want to support H579? Because NOW and Planned Parenthood have been instrumental for decades in the radical sexual revolution which is being waged all across America. Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) is the primary tool for taking this revolution to their most vulnerable audience — our children.
Stephanie Gifford of Idaho Falls described CSE this way:
“Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) is a dangerous social movement that seeks to erase traditional values and gender norms and minimizes the role of parents in teaching their children about sex and moral values.”
The American College of Pediatricians said of CSE:
“Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) goes far beyond sex ed, and is a dangerous assault on the health and innocence of children…” — American College of Pediatricians
And Family Watch International, an organization that lobbies on behalf of sound family policy at the United Nations, put together this documentary regarding CSE which was shown at the Utah capitol when legislators debated and then rejected a proposal that Utah implement CSE last year.
Idaho parents ought to be informed about CSE. It strikes at the very core of the things we value most. It is destructive to individuals, families, and communities.
Comprehensive Sexuality Education was promoted to the education committee at the hearing based on a claim that it had been shown to reduce teen pregnancy. Yet these claims are shaky at best. The reality is that teen pregnancy rates have steadily declined world-wide over the last two decades. In Idaho, without CSE, we have also seen a 50% reduction in teen pregnancy from a high of 2,800 teen pregnancies in 1999 to the 2016 statistic of 1,401. There are many potential causative factors, including the reality that many teens spend much more time on virtual relationships these days than in real relationships. Proponents of H579 provided no evidence that what Idaho is already doing is not already working as well or better than what other states are doing, nor can they document their claims that CSE is a causative factor in the reduction of teen pregnancy.
We are very blessed, at this point, that Representative VanOrden’s bill did not pass. For now, Idaho’s strong pro-family language gives local districts a leg to stand on when parents object to sexual topics introduced in the classroom. This came into play this last year at Blackfoot High School where a teacher invited guest speakers into the classroom to talk about the homosexual lifestyle, promoted masturbation as healthful, taught students that there are multiple genders, that gender is fluid, and advocated for abortion. Because of existing state law, Blackfoot School Board was able to take steps to address the situation. If Representative VanOrden’s bill had passed school districts would be much more vulnerable. In fact, parents in states around us are battling district by district to limit and control sexual material being taught in the classroom while facing legal action and pressure from big money organizations like the ACLU and Planned Parenthood.
Idaho parents worked diligently to share concerns and information with Representative VanOrden, but during the time leading up to the filing deadline for the 2018 primary election Representative VanOrden continued to stand behind H579 and its provisions which reduce the parental role and control over sex education. She went on the news and on the Neal Larson Show extolling the virtues of H579.
In addition, Stephanie Gifford and Julie Lynde of the Idaho Family Policy Alliance made an appointment and drove to Boise for a face to face visit. Stephanie reported that:
“I met with Representative Julie VanOrden after the hearing for H579. I expressed my concerns that Dr. Fry and the representative from NOW saw this bill as a stepping stone to Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE). Representative VanOrden did not agree with my concerns and stated that she would continue to work with Hannah (Dr. Fry’s student) over the summer and bring another bill forward next year.”
As a mother and an American, I believe that the voters of Bingham County deserve to have an option on the ballot who will
- not be so easily induced to support things like the radical sexual agenda’s deceptive sales pitch regarding CSE and the reduction of teen pregnancy
- support legislation that reflects a belief that the family is a treasure to be protected rather than a liability to be navigated around
- protect the authority of local school boards and parents to choose which sex education curriculum to teach
- protect the right of parents to decide what their individual child will participate in
It is my purpose to do all in my power to offer them such an alternative.