The Texas Republican Party on Saturday voted on two new party forums aimed at halting the teaching of sex and sexuality in schools, as well as calling on Texas schools to teach “progenitor dignity” and that life begin with fertilization. it happens.
A policy resolution called on state lawmakers to “prohibit the teaching, display and/or discussion of sexual matters (mechanics, emotions, orientation or ‘gender identity’ issues), as well as removing books or materials relating to schools .
“The issue of gender has nothing to do with education,” said Cindy Castilla, president of the Texas Eagles Forum and who serves on the Party Platforms Committee. “Education is about reading, writing, math, science, history and the fine arts. Maybe some foreign languages and PE. … Schools are not our children’s social teachers.”
Elsewhere, the GOP platform also added that Texas students should learn about “the dignity of a prenatal human” and that life begins with fertilization.
“It goes back to biology, in teaching sex as biology,” said Julie Pickren, who told The Texas Tribune that sex education has a place only if it is part of the state’s health education system. Complies with standards and is age appropriate. “If it has a heartbeat, it’s human, isn’t it?”
Pickren, a Republican, is running for the State Board of Education District that represents Southeast Texas. Incumbent Matt Robinson is not running for re-election.
Platform Plank does not specify which grades should receive these lessons, except to say that high school students should read the Woman’s Right to Know booklet. Critics say the state-written pamphlet contains scientifically unsupported claims and shames women seeking abortion care.
Platform Plank also states that students should watch a live ultrasound and watch a “Miracle of Life” type video. The 1982 film documents the human reproductive process from conception to birth.
Kristen Yalana, executive director of the Texas Women’s Health Caucus, said the push to teach public school students that life begins with fertilization represented a broader push by the Texas Republican Party to establish a legal basis for so as to claim that the fetus is a person with constitutional rights. ,
“They want to get to the point where we can say, ‘Well, no, this is a person. So they need legal protection, criminal protection, constitutional protection. They have rights that are just as legitimate and equal. So, you can’t do certain things,” Yalana said.
During the last regular legislative session, Rep. Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands, filed a bill that defines individuality in fertilization and will provide the embryo due process. Bill died in committee.
State education boards recently reviewed health curriculum standards, including requirements for teaching about fertilization in fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grades.
“My view is that well enough to be left alone. The standards we put in place are factual and balanced,” Republican board member Patricia Hardy of Fort Worth told the Tribune on Saturday after the platform vote.
Several delegates at the conference argued that young children do not need to know about gender and sexuality issues, including conversations and lessons about transgender people. Those representatives said that on Saturday they prefer that such talks take place at home. Under Texas law, parents currently must provide written consent for their children to attend sex education classes, which are required to insist on abstinence.
Some women’s health advocates and public education leaders criticized the policies as harmful and discriminatory and questioned the legality of stopping the teaching of gender and sexuality in schools.
“The Texas GOP is out of step with most Americans who believe in equality,” said Jeff Capo, president of the Texas chapter of the American Federation of Teachers. Capo said the platform banning the teaching of “sexual matters” violates Title IX, which protects against sex-based discrimination, including discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
“Parents may try to restrict what their own children read or what they love, but they don’t have the right to restrict others,” Capo said, “not in a truly free society.”
The newly sanctioned Texas GOP party platform widely held the culture wars at its core, as the party adopted several new platforms on Saturday shifting the party further to the right.
Delegates voted Saturday on the 275 platform Plank will now need to match and authenticate in Austin. Texas GOP Party spokesman James Wesoleck said it was rare for a placard to be rejected. In addition to the podium, delegates voted to elect 8 of the 15 legislative priorities to be shared with Republican lawmakers ahead of the legislative session beginning in January. Which 8 was chosen, it will not be known for several days.
Party platforms are often more aspirational than practical and in Texas, they have long reflected the opinion of the most active wing of the parties. Elected officials are not bound to follow the forums of their parties.
In a state GOP forum related to teaching Texas students about sex and sexuality, Gov. Greg Abbott has directed the Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate parents who expose their transgender children to child abuse. providing gender-affirming care. The state has also seen a push from far-right lawmakers and conservative parents to remove “obscene material” from school libraries and classrooms. The book ban often targeted young adult literature with racial and LGBTQ+ themes.
The platform also calls on lawmakers to remove an exemption in the Texas Penal Code that “allows children to access harmful, explicit or pornographic material under the guise of educational material.”
Castilla said the exemption allows schools to use educational material that she considers “obscene pornography.”