Bill Description: House Bill 228 would define “abstinence” as refraining from any sexual activity prior to marriage, including any physical contact that could result in pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, or emotional risks.
Does the bill create more transparency or accountability in public education institutions? (+) Conversely, does the bill reduce transparency and accountability in such institutions? (-)
House Bill 228 would clarify that according to Idaho law, “abstinence” means refraining from any sexual activity prior to marriage, including physical contact that could result in pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, or emotional risks.
Some sex education curricula, like Reducing the Risk, which has been and continues to be offered in some Idaho schools, define abstinence as “choosing not to do any sexual activity that carries a risk for pregnancy or STD/HIV.” This definition does not align with how many parents understand abstinence and how the term has been traditionally defined. Codifying a definition of abstinence that aligns with the traditional definition increases transparency in public educational institutions by enabling parents to understand what a sex ed curriculum is teaching. If the bill is passed, a sex ed curriculum or program could not be labeled “abstinence only” or “abstinence based” without aligning to the definition of abstinence set forth in House Bill 228.