The proposal from Rep. Barbara Ehardt, R-Idaho Falls, would send a permission slip home within two weeks of the class to ensure parents want their kids to go through sex ed. Idaho will allow 16-year-olds to get married. Any clinic that provides abortion cannot receive federal funding. There is a link here, and it is not a reasonable one. By that, I mean that the ends of all these legislative agendas do not match the means by which they will be applied.

Believe me when I say that it is not a good idea for anyone to begin to raise children before the age of 25. Why that age? According to the latest neuroscience, human brains have an unfinished pre-frontal cortex until then; which means that the part of the brain which controls judgment is not mature when we are in even our early twenties. Of course, many couples ignore that fact — probably because it is true and hormones have been known to overwrite the brain on numerous occasions.

The legislation which has been proposed is designed to keep parents in charge of their kid’s adolescent life. It is especially an attempt to keep any governmental influence on our vulnerable children. Judging by the scandals many elected officials are involved in, that is a good enough idea. The fallacy to this type of argument is that, unless we drastically change our government and restrain free speech, we will fail to achieve our aims to protect our children. In other words, it’s the media talking to our biology that is to blame for the problems of early sexualization. Even older adults are influenced. Why would any adult thoughtfully consider someone who is 16 old enough to marry?

Kinsey and then Masters and Johnson broke the taboo on research into our sexuality. Since then, there has been a good deal of less publicized and probably more scientifically sound research on the topic. There is no practical reason why young people about to enter puberty, adults becoming sexually active, and elderly people, who need to adapt to physical changes in order to experience sexual intimacy, cannot access solid information on the biology of sexual experience. That is what sex-ed should be about. When presented in a matter of fact manner, it gives us the how to’s without the blushes. Birth control? Do away with the myths. Present the facts. Hormones can be controlled. No one was ever permanently injured by saying no. The only sure way to prevent sperm meeting egg is abstinence.

Parents should have a hoop to go through to prevent their children from getting sex ed. The child has a right to know that there is accurate information their parents do not want them to have. Much like the anti-vaxers, parents who do not want their children to have the facts are doing a great disservice to their children. It’s much easier to, over the years, transmit your beliefs about sexual practice to your children by word and deed then by just ignoring any knowledge about how the deed is done. Most children can make the connection between the values they hold and the actions that would betray those values.

I know of no one, I repeat, no one who urges women to have an abortion. I have heard of men or parents who try to coerce a pregnant woman to end a pregnancy to avoid the responsibility of raising a child, but no medical facility ever advertises anything like, “come on in and avoid the problems a child will bring.” All responsible medical providers will provide or refer to a provider of birth control information. Every child deserves to be born and raised in conditions that will provide the best possible life. Reliable sex education allows women and men to make informed decisions about sexual activity.

Rewarding sexual intimacy is something to be desired. Accurate facts about the physical aspects and good relationship skills make the difference. Parents are and always will be the main providers of relationship skills. Let’s require the education system, the legal system, and the medical system to do their jobs without regulatory interference.

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Linda Brugger retired from the Air Force and is a former chairwoman of the Twin Falls County Democrats.


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