Last week, I mentioned two state legislatures had passed abstinence-only sex education bills. While Wisconsin's governor was already supportive of the measure, in Utah, Governor Gary Herbert was less certain. The measure would have banned any discussion of contraception, or for that matter, homosexuality. The current law in Utah already requires parents to "opt-in" if the course includes discussion of contraceptives, but this measure would have actually removed even the option for students to learn about more than simply abstinence. It had passed overwhelmingly in both chambers, despite protests and opposition from the state PTA and teachers' groups.
Late Friday, after protests, phone calls, and significant pressure from both sides, Herbert announced he had vetoed the measure. In his statement, he said he was unwilling to say "the State knows better than Utah's parents," noting a majority of parents choose to have their children learn about contraception. Herbert described himself as pushing "the reset button" on the conversation around sex-ed in the state.