Proposed Law in Ohio Bans Teaching of 'Gateway Sexual Activity' in Schools

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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A new Ohio law aims to stop teachers from educating students on “gateway sexual activity" and allow parents to sue instructors if their child receives such education.

The vague Republican amendments were added to the state's two-year budget bill on Tuesday. Changes specifically prohibit the distribution of contraception.

“Today the Ohio House Finance Committee voted to send our state back to the 1950s,” said Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Kellie Copeland in a statement. “The Ohio House is doing everything they can to restrict access to reproductive health care and medically accurate information that help Ohioans live healthy lives. Governor Kasich can stop these dangerous attacks on women’s health care. We need him to speak out against these budget provisions and to line-item veto these dangerous measures when they reach his desk.” 

The sex education changes state that instructors cannot promote “any gateway sexual activity or health message that encourages students to experiment with sexual activity.” 

The law prohibits distribution of certain materials or the demonstration of “sexual stimulation devices.”

Parents and guardians have the right to sue for damages in the event a teacher breaks these rules. Instructors could face a civil fine up to $5,000.

At the same time, the Republican-dominated panel struck down Democrat attempts to restore the budget provision which funds Planned Parenthood. Ohio Right to Life, an organization which lobbies to ban abortion and euthanasia, has started a campaign called Defund Planned Parenthood.

The money would be reallocated to right-wing “crisis pregnancy centers” that don’t provide the same health services at Planned Parenthood.

Ohio’s House Finance Committee approved the amendment to the budget bill. The full House will likely vote on the bill Thursday.

Sources: Think Progess, Columbus Dispatch