I keep hearing about how McCain lied about Obama’s promotion and “yes” vote on a bill that would have taught sex-ed to kindergartners. Obama says it was just to teach them about inappropriate touching. So, being the former debater that I am, I tracked the bill down. Here’s what it says (the final version):
Each class or course in comprehensive sex
14 education offered in any of grades K 6 through 12 shall
15 include instruction on the prevention of sexually transmitted
16 infections, including the prevention, transmission and spread
17 of HIV AIDS. Nothing in this Section prohibits instruction in
18 sanitation, hygiene or traditional courses in biology.
19 (b) All public elementary, junior high, and senior high
20 school classes that teach sex education and discuss sexual
21 activity or behavior intercourse shall emphasize that
22 abstinence is an effective method of preventing unintended is
23 the expected norm in that abstinence from sexual intercourse
24 is the only protection that is 100% effective against
25 unwanted teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases,
26 and HIV acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) when
27 transmitted sexually.
The original bill established that the teaching would occur in the 6th grade, when most students are 11 or 12. In today’s society, most of them already know about sex. The bill itself actually isn’t a bad bill, emphasizing abstinence, personal responsibility, and consequences for negative behavior. That was to be the crux of the bill, teaching that self-control is the best way to avoid pregnancy and STD’s. Unfortunately, the “K” was added in (all underlined material was added in prior to the bill being voted on).
The Bill itself, however, deals primarily with teen-to-teen sexual activity and doesn’t really deal with pedophilia or “inappropriate touching” as Obama says. Section 7, lines 8-26 deal with how to turn down sexual advances, but it’s mostly in the context of peer pressure and doesn’t specify “this is all that shall be taught to kindergartners.” Furthermore, this section was added as an afterthought; it was not part of the original bill. In fact, state Senator Iris Martinez – one of the sponsors of the bill – when asked if the bill was specifically about touching, said, “Absolutely not.”
There is nothing designating that anyone below the 6h grade wouldn’t be subject to any of the above. Though the very first lines of section one do designate that a child can opt out via a guardian’s signature, there is nothing (that I saw) saying that a parent/guardian has to know that the child is enrolled in the class.
Again, it actually is a good bill in its original format (which was 6 – 12) that addresses a much-needed issue. However, I think both conservatives and liberals (at least those that still have sanity) can admit that a 6-year-old learning about sex details robs that child of his innocence.
In other words, McCain didn’t lie at all. The ad is accurate – Obama supported a bill that would have allowed teachers to explain detailed aspects of sexuality with 5 and 6 year olds. Certainly McCain has embellished other things in ads and taken unnecessary swipes at Obama (such as comparing Obama to Paris Hilton), but this one just is not it. There’s no wording in the bill that would prevent a teacher from teaching intricate details about sex to a six year old.
Not that I am trying to be a conservative mouthpiece, I just don’t like injustice and less-than-truthful statements.