Colorado Senate News
4 April 2007
Senate Democrats voted to impose a new “science-based” standard on sex-education programs in Colorado schools today – mandating that contraception, emergency contraception and abortion be part of the curriculum.
The move came over heated Republican objections that the backers of House Bill 1292 – which exempts only school districts that have federally funded, abstinence-based programs – have their education priorities backward.
"Why is this bill necessary?" asked Sen. Scott Renfroe, R-Eaton, "It only seems to be pushing an agenda."
Several Democrats supporting the bill drew flak for having opposed other statewidecurriculum standards – on things like math and science – while seeking to dictate curriculum content to almost every school district on sex education.
"I'm troubled that you want to restrain the state when it comes to overseeing reading, writing and arithmetic, but you're all for jumping into comprehensive condoms, consummation and copulation,” Sen. Shawn Mitchell, R-Broomfield, told the bill’s supporters. “It makes no sense.”
Sen. Josh Penry, R-Fruita, added: "What is wrong with the priorities of this General Assembly?" Penry carried a bill earlier this session establishing statewide graduation standards for math and science, but it was defeated by the same Democrats who now are pushing curriculum mandates on abortion and emergency contraception.
When challenged, Democrat Sen. Sue Windels, of Arvada, the bill’s sponsor, was unable to name any school district whose sex-ed curriculum is deemed deficient and that requires intervention by the General Assembly.
“This bill is in violation of the Colorado Constitution and does not have a single advocate within teaching circles,” said Assistant Minority Leader Nancy Spence, R-Centennial, who is ranking Republican on the Senate Education Committee and served for thirteen years on the Cherry Creek School Board.
All Republican attempts to amend the bill were blocked by the Democrat-controlled Senate. One amendment offered by Sen. Mike Kopp, R-Littleton, would have made the sex-ed programs opt-in, meaning that parents could choose to let their children participate.