At the statehouse on Monday, a House committee voted to update sex education in Iowa classrooms. By a vote of 17 to six, the house education committee agreed all sex education in Iowa should be “scientifically accurate.” Statehouse Democrats have pushed for that in the past, and now hold a majority so they can advance it.
Representative Mary Mascher of Iowa City gave examples of unscientific material she said has been presented in Iowa schools: “Ninty-nine-percent of girls who are having sexual intercourse become pregnant,” Mascher cites, “and that you can get HIV from sweat and tears.” Some schools have opted to refrain from teaching any information about fertility or birth control, using so-called abstinence-only programs, and Mascher says they could continue to do that.
Mascher says the department would provide information for such abstinence-only programs that’s research-based and age- appropriate, saying, “Just because they’re offering abstinence-only, they cannot offer inaccurate information in that program either.” The measure also adds new class instruction on the dangers of internet predators. And instruction on the sexually transmitted HPV (human papilloma virus) virus that’s now required in high school would also be required in junior high.