Those of you who thought the battle over comprehensive sex education curricula in North Carolina schools was over when HB 879 and SB 1182 failed to the pass the Legislature last session, think again. The week before Christmas, the North Carolina Division for Public Health issued a proposed rule change requiring pregnancy prevention programs funded by state grants to “provide comprehensive sexuality education,” including teaching not just about abstinence but also, “complete and medically accurate information about contraceptive methods.” If approved, the new rule would make current abstinence only programs ineligible for state funding and reverse the state’s longstanding commitment to teaching only abstinence before marriage.
Ten years ago, the General Assembly passed legislation setting abstinence education as the preferred standard in school curriculum. The General Assembly’s commitment to abstinence education has been reaffirmed in every state budget since then. This proposed change attempts to do through rule making what the legislature and the people of North Carolina would never approve by vote. Let’s hope the North Carolina Commission for Public Health gets the message. The public comment period closes on January 14. Comments can be sent electronically to:Chris Hoke, rule making coordinator at the North Carolina Division for Public Health.