In 2009, an interim Texas school superintendent declared that sex education classes were unnecessary in his rural district. Most of the area’s school kids live on farms, he explained, therefore: “They get a pretty good sex education from their animals.”
It’s this kind of thinking that makes Texas so special.
That specialness has now flowered in the Lone Star State’s senate. Ken Paxton, a right-wing Republican from a Dallas suburb, is proposing to ban Planned Parenthood from providing sex education materials to any Texas school. Paxton said the organization favors sexual freedom for women and girls, and — well, we can’t have that in our classrooms, can we?
[Editor’s note: A similar bill targeting Planned Parenthood’s activities in Kansas classrooms has been pushed this session in the Kansas House.]
Of course, Paxton really is just pandering to anti-abortion extremists. Planned Parenthood has become the favorite whipping girl of that faction, so piling on it is considered great sport by cheap-shot, political opportunists like Paxton.
Interestingly, neither he nor his Planned Parenthood-bashing supporters have found any examples of the demonized organization’s materials being used in Texas classrooms. But Paxton’s bill is almost comically panicky. Ramping up this goofiness, one alarmist even testified that Planned Parenthood’s secret agenda is to teach children how to use sex toys.
Lest you think that Texans are generally as off-the-wall as the Paxtonites, a recent poll shows that 73 percent of voters — including 69 percent of Republican women — approve of state funding for the kind of family-planning services that Planned Parenthood provides for low-income and other women.
Jim Hightower is a syndicated columnist. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org