Over 5,000 people have signed a petition circulated by the Texas Freedom Network, asking Texas Gov. Rick Perry to include comprehensive sex education in the issues being considered in an upcoming special legislation session.
Perry has called for two special sessions in an effort to give GOP lawmakers more time to push through a controversial package of new abortion laws, including measures that would shut down the vast majority of abortion clinics in the state.
The petitioners are hoping that the implementation of sex ed can reduce the number of abortions in the state.
“Given your stated intention of reducing abortion in Texas, you should support policies that give women and teens the information they need to avoid unplanned pregnancies,” the petition states. “That means ending the state’s promotion of failed abstinence-only sex education and installing policies that ensure teaching about birth control, along with abstinence, in high school sex education classes.”
GOP lawmakers in Texas have repeatedly endorsed abstinence-only education — which is known to not provide teens with medically-accurate information about how to prevent pregnancy or sexually-transmitted diseases. Texas currently does not have any state-mandated requirements for sex ed classes in the public school system. When schools have opted to provide some sort of sex ed program, they are required to stress abstinence and sex only within the confines of marriage.
Studies have confirmed states that don’t provide comprehensive sex education consistently have the highest rates of teen pregnancies and STDs. Texas currently has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancies in the nation.