A Bill that would prevent abortion providers from offering materials to students and force school districts to provide parents with an opt-in option for sex education courses passed the House.
The House voted 71 to 29 to approve House Bill 456, carried by Rep. Cary Smith, R-Billings, Monday afternoon.
The bill would allow for parental control over whether students participate in courses that teach human sexual education by requiring a school district to inform a parent or guardian when events or courses on human sexuality will be held or taught, and it would prohibit a school district from allowing any abortion services providers to offer materials or instruction at school.
During his introduction of the bill last week Smith said events like the one in Helena last year when the Helena School Board passed the controversial health enhancement curriculum are the reason the law is needed.
Jeff Laszloffy, president of the Montana Family Foundation, said this bill puts parents back in the driver’s seat and that the bill is a necessary response to Helena’s curriculum. He added that it’s critical that legislators get involved because it’s a program that will be pushed throughout the entire state.
Planned Parenthood representatives argue that the majority of the work done in the schools and with students is preventative and if this bill passes, they would not be allowed to provide those services, which are free of charge to the district and to students.
Jill Baker, education director with Planned Parenthood, said only 3 percent of the organization’s services are for abortion.
The House has a final, usually procedural, vote left before the bill moves to the Senate.
Reporter Alana Listoe: 447-4081 or firstname.lastname@example.org