Louisiana Committee Passes Bill to Ban Abortion Providers From Guiding Public School Discussions on Sex Ed

A Louisiana legislative committee passed a bill Wednesday that would ban abortion providers and organizations with direct ties to clinics from providing sex education materials, or speaking about sexual health, to students in the state’s public schools. Supporters of the bill claim the purpose of such a policy is to prevent the promotion of abortion in schools. However, opponents say that it would prevent students from receiving medically accurate information about sexual health.

HB 305, sponsored by Rep. Frank Hoffmann (R-West Monroe), would prohibit organizations like Planned Parenthood from guiding discussions on sexuality in classrooms in the state. The ban would apply to all public schools and charter schools that receive state funding. Hospitals would be exempt from the proposed law.

In its original draft, the bill would have prevented such organizations from providing instructional materials on any topic, but an amendment submitted by Hoffmann narrowed the language of the bill to ban only materials about “human sexuality or family planning.”

During a press conference announcing the bill, Hoffmann, standing next to Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal, who supports the bill, said that if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned Louisiana already has a law in place that would immediately outlaw abortion. “But until then, we want to make it as difficult as possible for the people doing that. This bill takes another step in that by not allowing these in-services in schools,” said Hoffmann.

The bill is supported by Louisiana Right to Life and the Bioethics Defense Fund. Dorinda Bordlee, senior counsel in the New Orleans office of Bioethics Defense Fund, assisted Hoffmann in drafting the bill.

Benjamin Clapper, executive director of Louisiana Right to Life, said in a statement that the bill is needed “to reassure Louisiana families that their children in state-funded elementary and secondary schools are not being targeted by individuals and organizations who have financial incentives to sell abortion.”

Raegan Carter, director of public affairs at Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, told RH Reality Check that her organization opposes the bill because state law already prohibits sex education in public schools from including information about abortion or contraception. “We are already in compliance with that law,” said Carter. “All of our health education material when we go into the schools are compliant.”

Carter also noted that Louisiana has some of the highest rates of sexually transmitted infections, HIV, and teen pregnancies in the country. “Planned Parenthood is one of the leading national providers of comprehensive sex education, and if we are eliminated from schools then our youth who need this information the most will not be able to receive the information,” said Carter.

According to the federal Office of Adolescent Health, Louisiana has the sixth highest rate of teenage births in the nation and the eighth highest rate of teenage pregnancies. A 2012 annual report by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals found that from 2008 until 2012, the state ranked in the top five each year for cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. One-third of sexual transmitted diseases in the state were reported among those from the ages of 15 to 19.

Under current state law, each individual school district has control over the sex education curriculum provided to students. There are no standardized requirements, but schools must emphasize abstinence as part of the sex education curriculum. Carter says that if Planned Parenthood and other organizations are prohibited from providing sex education, some schools may not have the resources to provide sex education at all.

“Planned Parenthood does not promote abortion in any of our health education materials,” said Carter. “Our sex education programs are age appropriate and medically accurate. We implement programs that are proven effective by the Centers for Disease Control and the federal Office of Adolescent Health.”

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  • fiona64

    Yeah, god forbid that kids get accurate information about human sexuality. @@ <– Those are my eyes rolling.

    • Shan

      “@@ <– Those are my eyes rolling."

      Someone mentioned sex so I thought they were boobies.

  • Suba gunawardana

    Going backwards in leaps & bounds…. We are fast becoming a third world country.

    • bitchybitchybitchy

      That’s basically what our corporate overlords want: poorly educated, poverty-ridden people who will be desperate to work for sub-minimum wages in Amazon warehouses, Walmart, etc.

      • Cactus_Wren

        I’ve said that they want a return to feudalism: on the one hand a wealthy and largely heritable oligarchy, hand in glove with a church structure that dictates law, and on the other an ignorant and fearful and superstitious and obedient peasantry, pathetically grateful to receive room and board and two suits of clothes for a year’s work, as if this were the year 1014 rather than 2014.

        • Suba gunawardana

          Yes,a master plan to breed a slave race. And very clever that they have brainwashed many of the poor to go along with it….

          • blfdjlj

            As to the poor, many vote Republican due to race issues (the ex-Confederacy) or because they fear loss of jobs from environmental regulation (places like Kentucky, West Virginia etc.).

            Note that since the 1990s, Republicans are absolutely unelectable in states that used to be part of their base. The GOP is extinct in the Northeast and on the West Coast, and it is rapidly losing ground even in states like Colorado or Virginia. In Wisconsin/Michigan/Pennsylvania, the party only controls the state government due to gerrymandering and low-turnout midterm elections.

          • Suba gunawardana

            That’s good news. But in many southern states even the so-called democratic candidates happen to be republicans in disguise…

          • blfdjlj

            That’s definitely true. At the same time, in Virginia last year (a deep red state until recently) the Democratic candidates were pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, anti-gun, pro-Obamacare, pro-environmental regulation and they ran this way. That said, it is true that in places like West Virginia, the Democratic candidates were conservative (even as they supported Obamacare to an extent).

        • Shan

          “I’ve said that they want a return to feudalism:”

          I think that’s what a lot of state governors are trying to do, without realizing it. They’re trying to create their own fiefdoms.

        • blfdjlj

          This is unfortunately what it is. I always wondered why the supposedly libertarian Koch brothers were happy to support draconian limits on abortion.

  • red_zone

    Emphasizing abstinence will not and does not help. If anything, it’s been shown to make things worse and make kids afraid to ask questions.

    • CBJ_Uno

      Great, their parents can teach them everything they wanted to know and more.

      Nobody is stopping them.

      • Shan

        And that’s working out SO well already.

        “Louisiana has the sixth highest rate of teenage births in the nation and the eighth highest rate of teenage pregnancies. A 2012 annual report
        by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals found that from
        2008 until 2012, the state ranked in the top five each year for cases of
        chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. One-third of sexual transmitted
        diseases in the state were reported among those from the ages of 15 to

        • CBJ_Uno

          Are you calling their parent’s stupid?

          You realize that the majority of people you’re referring to are minorities, right? You wouldn’t want to be making claims that minority parents aren’t smart enough to teach their kids about sex.

          Would you?

          • Suba gunawardana

            Withholding proper sex-education from children is BAD PARENTING.

            It doesn’t magically cease to be bad parenting just because the parents happen to be in a minorty.

          • Jennifer Starr

            Parents can pass on their values to their children, but there’s no good reason why actual qualified teachers can’t teach this, just like they teach every other subject.

          • Lieutenant Nun

            Not all parents have the time or the knowledge.

  • Rainbow Walker

    Think we are likened to a third world country in many respects now. We have the poverty, unwanted children, crime, lack of access to education [and religious tampering therein], lack of health care and the uber wealthy that control the courts, the markets and social development just like developing nations. The only reason we are classified a developed nation is because we have a little more protection and conveniences then developing nations. Even the Romans protected their slaves. Now it’s just politics and religion playing bread and circuses.

  • blfdjlj

    What a backward state legislature. Clearly, they have a hysterical obsession with female sexuality, and they don’t care at all about the disastrous consequences – STDs, unwanted pregnancies, hazardous abortions etc.

  • CBJ_Uno

    It’s a good thing these kids parents should do what all parents are supposed to do and actually raise their kids.