Utah Governor Gary Herbert has vetoed House Bill 363, Health Education Amendments. The bill modifies requirements for health instruction by requiring human sexuality instruction to teach and stress the importance of abstinence from all sexual activity before marriage and fidelity after marriage as the only sure methods for preventing certain communicable diseases.
The bill has met strong public response and thousands of letters to the governor’s office have asked the governor to veto the bill. Allyson Isom, the governor’s spokesperson commented that, “What's been striking about the correspondence that we've been receiving is that it's not template or spam content. It's individually and uniquely crafted and often very heartfelt, from parents, from educators, from those who care about Utah's kids and public policy.”
After passing the House and Senate, Governor Gary Herbert vetoed House Bill 363. Herbert consulted with Representative Bill Wright, the original sponsor of the bill, along with other legislative and community leaders before he decided to veto the bill. Herbert claims that he came to his decision based on public policy reasons and not political reasons.
The public response and Governor Gary Herbert’s veto says a lot about a state where religion so often suggests policy. Abstinence only education has been proven to be extremely ineffective and obviously does not help the part of the population engaging in sexual intercourse before marriage. These individuals need to be informed of the many ways to engage in protected sexual intercourse; rather than being told the only solution is to refrain from their current ways.
Now my only question is to the Republicans who sponsored the bill, what do you tell individuals who engage in sexual intercourse outside of marriage? There are a variety of ways that have been proven to decrease the transmittance of sexually transmitted diseases, yet this bill will keep the younger generation uninformed of ways to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. What is the purpose of this bill besides to keep a subset of the population uninformed of scientific discoveries?