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Planned Parenthood school sex-ed bill passed by Mass. Senate despite stiff debate. It’s on to the House in January.
Lesson for everyone: Debate of bill shows outrageous elitism and disdain for parental rights. (See video below!) Shows the necessity of aggressive lobbying by our side to prevail.
POSTED: Nov 21, 2015
Late Wednesday evening Nov. 18, just before going into the end-of-year recess, the Massachusetts Senate overwhelmingly passed the Planned Parenthood sex-ed bill, S2048. At the same time, they rejected two critical amendments that would have protected parents and students. The votes were almost completely on party lines. The bill now will move to the House in January.
People rarely get a chance to see up close how elitist and disconnected many elected officials have become. Their underlying message was, “We know better than parents what is good for children, even if the parents disagree.” And as usual, they had no problem twisting and misrepresenting the facts for the “greater good.”
There are 40 members of the Senate. Only six are Republicans. A few conservative Democrats crossed the line on this. One Republican, Richard Ross (R-Wrentham) voted for the bill.
This bill: Planned Parenthood’s radical goal for pushing their agenda in the schools
As we described in our previous article, getting this into law has been Planned Parenthood’s goal for over a decade. It includes three main components:
The “debate” on the two critical amendments to protect children and parents
This was a clear battle between the desires of parents and children versus the objectives of the schools and the sexuality lobby.
The pro-family side was argued by Republican Senators Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester), Vinny deMacedo (R-Plymouth), and Ryan Fattman (R-Webster).
Since they were vastly outnumbered, the Republican strategy was to introduce common-sense amendments that would protect children and parents from the brunt of the bill. Prior to the debate, Sens. Tarr and Fattman submitted six amendments. You can see all of the amendments here. Four of them were relatively non-controversial (three of those were approved and one rejected).
But the two other amendments were clearly a threat to Planned Parenthood's objectives. The opposition came prepared to stop them. The Planned Parenthood point man in the attack was Sen. Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett), aided by ultra-pro-sex-ed Senators. Harriette Chandler (D-Worcester) and Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Boston).
The two amendments were:
1. Amendment to protect parents regarding “Provider of Educational Materials”
In every other course of study in Massachusetts public schools, any outside person contracted to teach or provide materials must go through a formal certification process. But that is not required in this bill for providers of “comprehensive sexuality,” etc. This amendment would have closed that loophole in the bill.
However, that would cause a great burden on Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and the various homosexual groups that come into the schools to provide their sexuality and homosexuality materials to children.
The opponents didn’t even bother to debate this, since there was no legitimate argument they could make. So they were silent. Instead, the Democrats had decided in earlier caucus to simply vote against it, which they did, 28-9 (See the roll call vote here.) Three Dems jumped ship and joined the six Republicans.
2. Amendment to change “opt-out” to “opt-in.” (See video of debate below.)
The biggest fireworks of the evening came in the “opt-in” debate.
Ever since the original parental notification bill was passed (Ch. 71, Sec. 32A) in 1996, the “opt-out” provision has been a nightmare for parents. We’ve seen it over and over again: Schools notify parents poorly or not at all about the curriculum. They make the opt-out process cumbersome, or they simply ignore parents’ requests to opt-out their children. They purposefully make it very embarrassing for the children when they are opted-out. They make it difficult for parents to see the materials being taught. The law as standing simply doesn’t work.
Furthermore, no other elective courses in schools are opt-out; they are all opt-in. Of course, none of them are ideologically driven by a powerful lobby like the sex-ed industry.
Sen. Fattman introduced the amendment:
Parents should be asked, what do they want for their children. They should not be told. And this amendment does exactly that. It allows parents to opt in when talking about sensitive information that their children are going to be taught ... This is the principle to which I think this Commonwealth should hold.
But allowing parents to opt-in to Planned Parenthood sexuality is too much for the “progressive” legislators. Sen. Harriette Chandler began the attack:
This amendment would strike at the very core, the very heart of what we're trying to do here with this bill.
The bill before us doesn't even require that schools teach sex education, only if they do it be medically accurate. [NOTE: Not true. "Medically accurate" has nothing to do with it. It would require the full Planned Parenthood curriculum.] ...
This amendment would require that parents have to proactively opt-in by giving written permission. This would prevent a significant number of children from receiving important information about how to make healthy choices ...
I represent a district that has a large number of minority children whose parents do not speak English as a first language. Getting this information would be very difficult. [NOTE: Not true. The bill requires that the information be given in the parents’ native language.]
I am not in favor of changing the current [opt-out] system which is in already in place, and working to a more onerous system for the school district that would result in less children receiving comprehensive sex education ...
In addition, this amendment creates a great deal of uncertainty for schools. How will they be able to guess how many students will sign up? How will they budget for classes when they don't know how many students will sign up? I think that the bill before us strikes the balance in ensuring parent choice and providing some predictability for the school. [NOTE: All other opt-in electives don’t seem to cause the schools any of these problems.] ...
And quite frankly, children need to have better tools to make healthy decisions. [NOTE: How "healthy" are Planned Parenthood's recommendations?]
Sen. Vinny DeMacedo defended the amendment:
By doing this, it enables the individuals, the families to have an opportunity to be a part of this process and have a comfort level with what their children are being taught. What is age appropriate? What is medically accurate? This is a perfect way to solve the issue.
Sen. Sal DiDomenico attacked it with more predictable Planned Parenthood rhetoric:
There are nearly 40 percent of high school students engaged in sexual activity right now in the Commonwealth. [NOTE: This is likely from informal “surveys”, not actual facts. And does it have anything to with PP pushing sex on teens?] Some are making bad choices for themselves and their health. We don't opt in for English, science or math and I would venture to guess this subject is just as important as those. Opting in for a crucial part of our education is unacceptable.
Sen. Bruce Tarr responded to him, hitting the nail on the head:
I am alarmed at some of the concerns that have been expressed. The gentleman who just took his seat [Sen. DiDomenico] just convinced me of the importance of this amendment. This is fundamentally different than math and science and English, because it involves morality, because it involves sensitive subjects that can have ramifications for the rest of someone's life.
If we are going to stand here and suggest that it's okay for children to default into this program, it is well-established law in this country that the fundamental educator of a student is the parent. It is a sad day when we say we will tolerate a lack of parental engagement ... I understand the temptation to say, "Let's allow everyone to not to have to make a decision." But that doesn't comport with the notion of the parent being the fundamental educator of the student.
But the “progressives” in the State Senate would hear none of it. They voted the amendment down by 29-9. See roll call.
VIDEO: See for yourself! Watch the debate on the "Opt-in" Amendment HERE.
Voting on the bill
After the amendments were finished, it was time to vote on the entire bill.
Sen. deMacedo gave a final plea to reject this horrible bill. Over the years, we have met with him and given his office examples of the graphic material given to children as “comprehensive sexuality education.” It showed what these “experts” deem as "age appropriate."
For me, an individual who has been working on this for a long time, I know you think I'm crazy but you should see some of the material that is age appropriate right now for seventh graders. Some people say I should have read some of it to the body. But I wouldn't do that. I think we wouldn't be comfortable with our 12-year-old being exposed to this by someone else. I am not naive but there are clearly some things that make me uncomfortable and we need to be mindful of what is considered "age appropriate."
In the end, Bill S2048 passed by 32-6. (See the roll call here.) One Democrat, Michael Rush (D-Boston) voted pro-family. Republican Richard Ross (who has marched in the Boston Gay Pride parade) voted for the bill.
What happens now
Because the bill had unexpectedly moved to the full Senate, we could not effectively alert people before that vote. But it's certainly not over. The bill now goes to the House when the session resumes in January. These sorts of bills have been stopped before. Clearly, the work is cut out for us.
If nothing else, this showed us – again -- that mere logic and reasoned argument are not effective with these people. What actually works in these situations is very forceful, assertive lobbying by parents and others. Liberals don’t listen to logic, but “truth in anger” has an interesting history of effectiveness. Unfortunately, most pro-family groups are afraid of that. We’re not.