War on Women – and Reality – Advances With Repeal of Healthy Youth Act

In the dead of night, the Wisconsin Assembly passed SB 237, a bill that restricts teenagers’ access to medically accurate information about human sexuality. The bill would destroy what some characterize as the “gold standard” for human sexuality education in public schools by eliminating all references to contraception, and requires schools to teach that abstinence is the only reliable way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

Woman outside of hearing room waiting to testify on SB 237. She sprinkled holy water on people inside the hearing room.

The extreme religious agenda underlying this proposal is revealed by an analysis of lobbying groups weighing in on the issue.  Out of twenty-six groups registered, only four were in favor.

The four groups are the usual Christian theocratic suspects pushing public policy initiatives that curtail women’s rights and reproductive freedom: Wisconsin Catholic Conference, Pro-Life Wisconsin, Wisconsin Family Action and Wisconsin Right to Life.  These same groups also promoted and lobbied for SB 92 which allows insurance companies to deny coverage for abortions, and SB 306 which makes it more difficult for women to get an abortion and threatens doctors who provide abortions with criminal charges if they don’t follow procedures to ensure the abortion is not coerced.

Organizations including the Wisconsin Medical Society, the Wisconsin Public Health Association, the League of Women Voters, the City of Milwaukee and many other professional public education and social work groups registered against the bill.

During a public hearing on the bill last October, these extremes were illustrated by the testimonies given by opponents and advocates.  The following two videos are the best representations of each side of the issue:

Dr. Kathy Hartke Testifies Against Repeal of Healthy Youth Act


Nobody Else Knows Better About SEX Than Me!

During debate on the floor, Rep. Chris Danou (D-Trempeleau) said, “This bill is a flight from reality.  You will not let reality interfere with your ideology, and I’m sorry about that.”

Rep. Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) made a similar point saying, “we’re trying to pass laws for the world we want to live in, not the real world.”  He highlighted another logical inconsistency with the bill: “This question should bring us together: How can we prevent unwanted pregnancies that lead to abortion?”

Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac), who earlier in the evening talked about having spent twenty years teaching in Catholic Schools, laid the ideological versus scientific nature of the question bare.  “Some parents are not comfortable with comprehensive human growth and development being taught in school.”  He argued that those families should not have comprehensive sex education foisted upon their children.

In one of the more bizarre moments of the evening, Rep. Joel Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc) said, “Sexuality amongst youth isn’t a right, it’s a crime in the state of Wisconsin.”

Kleefisch: “Underage Sex is a Crime”

Rep. Sandy Pasch (D-Whitefish Bay) responded, “That is a strange, strange comment so out of touch with reality.”  Rep. Fred Kessler (D-Milwaukee) later set the record straight, reading from the statutes that only sex in public is illegal.

Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison) closed her remarks with a harsh dose of reality, predicting the dire consequences of the bill.  “As the result of this, some teen is going to die because you told them that abstinence is the only reliable way to prevent disease.”

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19 Comments on “War on Women – and Reality – Advances With Repeal of Healthy Youth Act”

  1. Bill Dunn March 14, 2012 at 5:13 am #

    This is brilliant. Republicans denying the undeniable, that adolescents are interested in sex and that a certain percentage are going to engage in sexual activities. Instead of giving them the tools (you know who’s favorite phrase) to understand the implications and to be safe, we’ll just stick our heads in the sand and legislate conservative ideology, all the while knowing full well that you can’t fight the glands.

  2. Nicole Schulte March 14, 2012 at 10:03 am #

    It was so good of Rep. Kleefisch to give us that little “sexuality among youth is a crime” statement. It added just the right touch to the piece.

    • alex March 14, 2012 at 11:24 am #

      yes, it allowed us to realize just how oblivious the republicans really are. Maybe if we just deny teens contraceptive education they will stop breaking underage sex laws!

  3. dk March 14, 2012 at 3:25 pm #

    What the heck is happening to Wisconsin???!?!?
    It’s the birthplace of the progressives and it has turned to this? I moved from Wisconsin to Virginia and I thought Virginia was backwards.

  4. Ronbo March 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

    Ask a hundred people if they lost their virginity as teenagers. Easily 90 will answer yes.

    Ask how many of those were planned in advance and not a spur of the moment thing. I doubt ten will answer yes.

    Which is why you want them to already be equipped with birth control. Just ask Bristol Palin.

  5. Steve March 14, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

    The blonde guy in the second video says all his kids are home schooled(poor kids). Now what I want to know is why is this guy testifying to end a public school program that won’t affect HIS precious children yet he feels his opinions should carry weight for other people’s children. What a sanctimoniuos jarhead.

  6. Frank March 14, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

    For people who hate the muslims so much, they sure do seem to like their world view on most topics.

  7. Ahavah March 14, 2012 at 9:19 pm #

    I love the way republicans think they can wave their magic wishful thinking and make 100,000 of biological evolution just go away. Teenagers are NOT children. For all of recorded history, including the present day, teens have been learning trades, working, getting married, having kids, fighting in their country’s wars, participating in local governance, and being regular productive members of society. It is only recently that western culture decided to try and impose some sort of bizarre unnatural extended childhood on people. Newsflash, republicans. The human female’s natural reproductive time is from about age 15 to about age 35. Get over it. A 15 year girl old has biological drives to find a mate programmed by tens of thousands of years of evolution. Pretending history didn’t happen that way won’t change anything. You have to deal with the reality that is, not the fantasy that you want it to be.

    • Aunt Bee March 15, 2012 at 10:08 am #

      Spot on, thank you.

  8. Strace March 15, 2012 at 10:09 am #

    I am worried about that man’s children. I don’t think just anyone should be able to home school. Scary.

  9. KP March 17, 2012 at 5:01 am #

    *Shudder* Check off another one… I’m running out of states in this country I’m willing to visit. :-/

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