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Proposed House Bill number 2232 in the Missouri House of Representatives is targeted to repeal section 170.015, RSMo, to enact new sections relating to reducing the number of abortions in the state through the prevention first act.
One of the new sections covers the course material and instruction relating to human sexuality and sexually transmitted diseases presented to students.
Currently the law presents abstinence from sexual activity as the preferred choice of behavior in relation to all sexual activity for unmarried pupils because it is the only method that is one hundred percent effective in preventing pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and the emotional trauma associated with adolescent sexual activity.
The law also currently asks for course material to stress that sexually transmitted infection are serious, present students with the latest medically factual information regarding exposure to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), present students with the latest medically factual information about the health benefits and side effects of all contraceptives, and provide information about the vaccine for human papilloma virus (HPV).
Teaching skills of conflict management, personal responsibility, and positive self-esteem and advising pupils of the laws pertaining to their financial responsibility to children born in and out of wedlock are both also elements of the current Missouri law.
The law also notes that policies concerning referrals and parental notification regarding contraception is determined by local school boards or charter schools, a school district may separate students according to gender for instructional purposes, and the board of a school district shall determine the specific content of the district's or school's instruction in human sexuality.
In accordance with the law a school district shall notify the parent or legal guardian of each student enrolled in the district of the basic content of the district's or school's human sexuality instruction to be provided to the student and the parent's right to remove the student from any part of the district's human sexuality instruction.
The new sections proposed in the house bill encourages family communication between parents and children about sexuality; helping young people gain knowledge about the physical, biological and hormonal changes of adolescence and subsequent states of human maturation; helping students develop skills in critical thinking, problem solving, decision making, and stress management; teaching students about the dangers of sexual predators including online predators; and teaching students about the consequences of inappropriate text messaging.
In the second new section of the proposed bill allows any licensed physician to have the choice to utilize expedited partner therapy, or the practice of treating the sex partners of persons with chlamydia or gonorrhea. The bill adds that any antibiotic medication prescribed and dispensed for the treatment of chlamydia or gonorrhea under this section has to be in pill form.
Coinciding with the bill, the department of health and senior services and the division of professional registration within the department of insurance, financial institutions and professional registration shall by rule develop guidelines for the implementation of the choice made by the physician.
A third section, cited as the "Birth Control Protection Act, notes that no governmental actor or entity, whether state, county, municipal, or otherwise, within the state of Missouri can be authorized to act in any fashion to deprive consenting individuals of the right to obtain and use safe and effective methods of contraception or interfere with or discriminate against the right of consenting individuals to obtain and use safe and effective methods of contraception.
A licensed pharmacy will be required to dispense any prescribed drug or device in stock without delay consistent with the normal time frame for filling any other prescription when receiving receipt of a valid and lawful prescription, according to the fourth new section of the proposed bill.
The bill adds that every licensed pharmacy shall ensure that it does not intimidate, threaten, or harass its customers in the delivery of services, including when a customer lawfully requests contraception approved for over-the-counter use. If the request is made by an individual, the pharmacy must meet the request by providing the item out of the pharmacies own stock, ordering the item and notifying the individual upon its arrival, or, if out of stock, directing the individual towards a pharmacy that would have the item in stock.
A licensed pharmacy shall fulfill all lawful requests for contraception approved for over-the-counter use in a timely fashion, according to the proposed bill.
State Rep. Tom Todd D-Campbell noted that he agreed that students needed to continue being taught abstinence.
"If you want to do something about abortion, you need to stop it before it starts," Todd said.
He added that the only way is to educate kids and teach them not to "jump into relationships" and that they needed to think before acting.
Kennett Superintendent Jerry Noble noted that his personal belief was that the education required abstinence to be taught.
He added that he did not believe he could condone any other type of sex education.
"Some people will tell you that its not working, but morally I feel I couldn't endorse any other method," Noble said.
He explained that it was unfortunate that schools had to get involved in the subject because it should be the parents taking care of the issue.
Noble noted that he was in favor of the option in the bill where the parents could opt out of the education for their children.
He also said that he did not want schools to become places for kids to get birth control or a place where birth control information had to be kept confidential from parents.
"If students are doing the something the parents wouldn't approve of, then we shouldn't be in the middle," Noble said. "Parents need to have a right to know what is going on and have the right to take a child out of the class."
He added that parents needed to understand exactly what would be taught in the classes.
Information in this story is attributed to house.mo.gov.