Last week Governor Fallin signed HB2797 – the Humanity For the Unborn Child Bill. The bill will take effect in November.
The bill directs both the Department of Health and Department of Education to work for the “the purpose of achieving an abortion-free society.” Both Departments are to design education programs for grades nine through twelve.
We need to ask whether other subjects will be set aside while students receive their new education in abortion?
We also need to consider that educators might be teaching the wrong information. They are supposed to convey that “abortion kills a living being.” But the Supreme Court of the United States has considered the issue of viability in the case of Roe v. Wade. They found that “viable” means “potentially able to live outside the mother’s womb, albeit with artificial aid.” The court’s decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey also affirmed that a woman has a right to an abortion until fetal viability.
I would like to know what would happen if an educator taught the set curriculum but then mentioned some of the Supreme Court findings in the lesson. Or what would happen if an astute student asked a question about the findings? Is the educator supposed to/entitled to/allowed to answer correctly? Or would that be seen as defying the Oklahoma government!
And how is this new education item to be funded? Oklahoma’s education budget has been cut by $58 million since January. The Education Department estimates the new program will cost about $160,000 for materials, and about $4.78 million total to put the program into action. Surely this is money the schools don’t have. Even if money has been set aside in a special fund, is it reasonable to spend money on this program when money is so tight for education generally?
Governor Fallin is so determined to stop abortion in Oklahoma. The state legislature this session passed a bill making it a felony to perform an abortion, but she had to veto the bill because it would not have held up to constitutional challenge in the courts.
Finally, wouldn’t a better alternative be to allow sex education to be taught in schools? Representative Emily Virgin proposed such an amendment this session but the Republican majority voted it down. It would make more sense to educate students about sex and pregnancy so things may never get to the stage where an abortion is needed.