Oklahoma Instructs Public Schools to Teach Pro-Life Lessons, Shrugs Off Actual Sex Ed Plans
It’s been a big, terrible week for news, and somehow it almost slipped through the cracks that Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin just commissioned her state’s Department of Health and Education with the task of creating “an abortion-free society.”
That’d be a pretty great goal, except that Fallin’s new measure does not attempt to cut down abortion rates by doing sensible things like increasing access to contraceptives and family-planning information for young people and low-income people, which have worked for other states in the past. (Colorado’s free IUD program was a smashing success that saved the state millions of dollars and cut teen abortion rates by 42 percent.)
Something like that would have been great news, but we live in the darkest timeline, and that means that Governor Fallin is actually just telling the health department and public high schools in Oklahoma to hand out materials about how life begins at conception and to “clearly and consistently teach that abortion kills a living human being.” It also bars all programs and state employees from referring any students to medical providers or facilities in order to obtain an abortion.
In addition to public service announcements and media, the Department of Health and Education has been instructed to create educational programs on “the humanity of the unborn child” for high school students. Parents would reportedly be able to have their kids skip those classes if they want. But there’s only so much time in the day. What are they cutting to make room for the anti-abortion lessons?
According to Slate, two Oklahoma representatives attempted to add amendments to the bill that would require a comprehensive sex education plan in addition to the “abortion is murder” lessons and that would require providing access to contraception. Both were reportedly voted down by Oklahoma Republicans.
The “Humanity of the Unborn Child Act” is expected to go into effect on November 1, “contingent on the provision of appropriated funds or revolving funds designated for the State Board of Education for such purpose.” That’s a pretty distressing sentence! One hopes that it means the act might not actually go into effect, because the Education Department says it would cost Oklahoma $4.78 million to make this plan happen, and Oklahoma does not have that kind of money lying around to spend on anti-choice pamphlets. The funds would have to come from somewhere else, and it’s not like the Oklahoma Board of Education is rolling around in money as it is.
Sorry, students of Oklahoma.