A photo of a sign that says "keep abortion legal"

Anti-abortion zealots target sex ed around the country

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Since the overturn of Roe v. Wade, anti-abortion legislators have moved swiftly to restrict access to reproductive health care around the country. Now K-12 public school sex ed classes, which have long been under attack, are in their sights.

According to the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), at least 135 bills affecting sex ed have been introduced already in 2024, most of which restrict student access to objective, science-based and comprehensive sex ed. The FFRF Action Fund urges advocates of the separation between state and church to stand in opposition to these religiously motivated efforts, and to fight for high quality, accessible sex education in public schools around the country.

Ironically, more legislation on sex ed would make perfect sense if the goal were to reduce the number of abortions by reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies, as those cheering the Dobbs decision disingenuously claim. But in order to reduce the number of abortions, states would have to increase access to comprehensive sex ed. The fact that these zealots’ bills do the opposite proves that their true goal is to impose their antiquated, misogynistic religious beliefs onto the entire country.

Some of these bills limit education on contraception, while others limit schools to debunked abstinence-only curricula. Of course, the sponsors behind these bills also do not want students to learn about the existence of the LGBTQIA-plus community, so many of the bills ban any discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity. Some, like Kentucky’s H.B. 304, would even require schools to “out” LGBTQIA-plus students to their parents.

In yet another assault against reproductive rights, legislation is being introduced to require use of propaganda by anti-abortion groups in public schools. A bill passed in Tennessee requiring public schools to show a video by Live Action, known for their deceptive tactics, and punishing any school that declines. Similar bills have been introduced in Kentucky, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota and West Virginia.

Many of these bills are advanced under the misleading banner of “parental rights.” American voters should demand that their elected officials prioritize student health and education over the fragile religious sensibilities of organized “parental rights” groups. Part of what makes public schools so important is that they connect students to members of their community of different backgrounds and beliefs.

Politicians who advance restrictive sex ed bills must be told by a critical mass of their constituents that these bills are unacceptable. The FFRF Action Fund will continue to oppose these harmful bills and urges all supporters of state/church separation to do the same.

FFRF Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) organization that develops and advocates for legislation, regulations and government programs to preserve the constitutional principle of separation between state and church. It also advocates for the rights and views of nonbelievers, endorses candidates for political office, and publicizes the views of elected officials concerning religious liberty issues.