The Oklahoma state House has approved legislation authorizing public schools to teach that life begins at conception.
With a vote of 64-12, House lawmakers sent the bill – the Humanity of the Unborn Child Act – to the state Senate. The measure would require Oklahoma public high schools to teach students in grades 9-12 “about the humanity of a child in utero.” The curriculum must also include education about fetal development during pregnancy.
Rep. Ann Coody (R) – the author of the legislation – is a former public school teacher, counselor, and principal, reports the Associated Press. She said parents of high school students could opt their children out of the curriculum.
Coody said she believes sex education as it is now in schools amounts to “condoning sexuality before marriage.”
“The only sure way to prevent pregnancy is not to have intercourse,” she said.
An amendment added by Coody would prevent any funds from being used for abortion counseling or sex education in schools. House Democratic Leader Scott Inman of Oklahoma City suggested that the bill ignores the root causes of abortions in the state, including poverty and inadequate health care.
According to the National Right to Life Committee, Oklahoma is the first state in the nation to introduce such a measure.
The measure would help public school students become more aware of the biological development of a fetus “with a view toward helping young people understand that the entity in the womb is a growing, living member of the human family,” said Tony Lauinger, chairman of Oklahomans for Life and executive vice president of the National Right to Life Committee.
Rep. Tim Huelskamp tweeted out his response to the measure:
— Cong. Tim Huelskamp (@CongHuelskamp) March 2, 2016