TRUTH CHECK: Misleading claims in debate about new sex ed bill

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DENVER - The FOX31 Problem Solvers continues our series "Truth Check" by sorting fact from fiction in Colorado's political circles.

You can watch our previous “Truth Check” segments here and you can read our criteria and standards here.

Today's Truth Check focuses on HB 1032; a new comprehensive sexual education bill at the Capitol. 

The crowds at the Capitol spent over 10 hours testifying. But the Truth Check noticed several misleading claims in the debate about sexual education.

CLAIM #1 

Colorado already has a ban on abstinence-only sex education

Exact quote: " The reality is we already have a ban on teaching abstinence-only sex education," Rep. Susan Lontine (D-Denver) said. Lontine is the bill's sponsor.

Verdict: Not exactly.

Reason: It is true HB 1081, which Colorado passed in 2013, bans abstinence-only sex education. However several charters schools have obtained waivers with the state board of education to teach their own version of comprehensive sex education with a heavier emphasis on abstinence. This new bill essentially eliminates the waivers -- telling school districts if you teach sex ed you must do it comprehensively.

CLAIM #2 

Teachers will teach abortion as an acceptable form of birth control

Exact quote: "It also places abortion as an accepted form of birth control" one gentleman testified in front of the committee Wednesday.

Verdict: Misleading.

Reason: The Truth Check knows abortion is a passionate topic. The Truth Check cannot fact check what people believe we can only look at what is in the bill.

Under the bill, teachers are taught to instruct on contraception that is FDA approved methods. Abortion is not an FDA approved method of birth control.

Instead, the bill tells teachers to teach about abortion only if pregnancy outcomes are brought up.

The following is an exact quote from the bill: 

“Comprehensive human sexuality does not require instruction on pregnancy outcome options. However if a public school opts to provide instruction on pregnancy outcomes the instruction must cover all pregnancy options including but not limited to adoption, abortion and parenting. Instruction on pregnancy outcome options must be provided in an objective unbiased manner must not endorse or favor one or more pregnancy options.

CLAIM #3 

Parents lose choices with sex education

Exact quote: "I think the most upsetting is that parents do not have a choice"

Verdict: Misleading.

Reason: Under the bill, parents are to receive written notification when sex ed is about to be taught in school. The bill makes clear that parents can keep their children home or away from those lessons if they believe the school is out of line.

The only time parents are not receiving notification about sexual topics in school is if they occur outside the scope of sexual education.

According to the bill:

"Nothing in this section requires written notification for programming on gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, or healthy relationships that occur outside the context of human sexuality instruction.

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