A germane topic for special session


mysaIt will be judged an attempt to change the subject. A pity it’s unlikely to work.

The Texas Legislature is fixated on abortion in this special session, by order of Gov. Rick Perry.

But if ever a subject needed changing, it is this one. And if ever there was a great subject to change to, it’s sex education.

This week, Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, introduced a bill to require that, if this is taught in Texas’ public schools, that it be comprehensive, evidence-based, abstinence-plus sex education.

It’s easy to wrap your head around this one. We are now mired in yet another round of divisive debate about the role of government in women’s decisions about their bodies and, with their doctors, their decisions about terminating pregnancy through a legal and constitutional procedure. How about, instead, we talk about preventing the pregnancies that result in unwanted births altogether?

Yes, we know. If the state Legislature was concerned about this, it wouldn’t have cut family planning services by two-thirds two regular sessions ago. That some was restored in the last regular session is a tribute to the clamor that produced.

And the Legislature and the governor wouldn’t have gone to such great lengths to block Planned Parenthood from the Women’s Health Program. The organization has the single best track record at preventing the pregnancies in Texas that might result in abortions — and does not use public funds for abortion in any case.

If, early, Texans learn the skills to make safe decisions about sexual activity, there will be fewer births to teens and, later, to the adults they become. And there would be fewer abortions.

This topic couldn’t be more germane to the special session’s topic, abortion. If the bill doesn’t make it to the floor, it will be because the proposal’s real flaw is that it makes way too much sense.