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CULTURE DIGEST: Utah gov. vetoes bill that would have promoted abstinence

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) -- Utah Gov. Gary Herbert vetoed a bill that would have prohibited sex education classes in public schools from teaching alternative lifestyles and giving detailed information about intercourse and contraception.

"Existing law respects the ability of Utah parents to choose if and how their student will receive classroom instruction on these topics," the governor said. "Under current law, a parent must opt in, in writing, before their student can attend all or any portions of any class discussing human sexuality.

The bill vetoed by Herbert, which easily passed both chambers of the state legislature, would have required schools to teach that abstinence until marriage and fidelity within marriage is the right course of action.

"If HB 363 were to become law, parents would no longer have the option the overwhelming majority is currently choosing for their children. I am unwilling to conclude that the state knows better than Utah's parents as to what is best for their children," Herbert, a Republican, said.

"In order for parents to take on more responsibility, they need more information, more involvement and more choice -- not less. I cannot sign a bill that deprives parents of their choice."

Rep. Bill Wright, also a Republican, sponsored the bill and reiterated his stance that abstinence is the only sure way to prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases among teenagers.

Wright fears that American culture is becoming more like that of China where having a family is looked down upon, according to the Daily Herald newspaper in Provo, Utah. Teaching about contraception, Wright said, is a step toward teaching how not to have families.

By teaching about contraceptives, Wright said, "We teach children to gratify themselves instead of disciplining ourselves." Another proponent of the measure, Stan Rasmussen of The Sutherland Institute, said, "Teaching youth to have safe sex is like teaching youth to drink responsibly."


MISSIONS SONG IS NASCAR CAMPAIGN -- "Let It Start with Me," a song used to promote last year's Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, will be the theme of a NASCAR campaign sponsored by Curb Records and K-LOVE Radio this year.

The song title will appear on the #98 car driven by Michael McDowell, and the group that sings the song, No Other Name, will participate in NASCAR events, prayer services and concerts.

"As Christians, too many times we pray to God to change the world not realizing that change begins with us," No Other Name's Laura Allen said. "Let It Start with Me is a reflection of No Other Name's desire to allow God to instigate change in us first, so that He can use us to be change agents in the world."

The NASCAR campaign urges people to make a pledge to change the world, such as "I will go on an overseas mission trip this summer," "I will give financially to missions organizations," "I will pray daily for missionaries and for people who need Jesus around the world," or "I will talk to my pastor about getting involved."

For more information, visit letitstartwithme.com.

ABORTION COMPLICATIONS APPARENTLY KILLED STUDENT -- A South African college student has died reportedly of complications from an illegal abortion.

Ayanda Masondo, 20, died March 18. She was a second-year student at the University of Johannesburg.

"At this stage an illegal abortion would appear to be the reason for her death," a police spokesman said, according to City Press, a South African newspaper that based its report on the Beeld newspaper.


Abortion is legal in South Africa.

FIRST AUSTRALIAN DEATH FROM RU 486 REPORTED -- An Australian woman died in 2010 after taking RU 486, becoming reportedly the first fatality in her country from use of the abortion drug, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. (ABC) reported March 19.

The woman was unnamed, and ABC said little was known about the site or circumstances of her death. She was treated at a clinic affiliated with Marie Stopes International, Great Britain's leading abortion provider.

The woman died of sepsis, Marie Stopes confirmed, according to ABC. Sepsis is a severe bacterial infection in the bloodstream.

'I LOVE ABORTION,' ACTIVIST SAYS -- Abortion is not a "necessary evil" to Jessica DelBalzo. She doesn't even think it should be rare.

She embraces it. In fact, she goes even further.

"I love abortion," DelBalzo wrote in a March 14 commentary for RH Reality Check, which is identified on its website as an online publication that promotes "sexual and reproductive health and rights." DelBalzo, who acknowledged she had an abortion, is a writer who lives in New Jersey.

She rejects abortion rights mantras such as "Make abortion safe, legal and rare" and "No one likes abortion," which she says are intended to "placate pro-lifers."

"Safe and legal are concepts I fully support, but rare is something I cannot abide," DelBalzo wrote.

"here is no need to suggest that abortion be rare. To say so implies a value judgement , promoting the idea that abortion is somehow distasteful or immoral and should be avoided."


She said, "While it may be true that no one likes the physical act of having an abortion (any more than she may like her yearly mammogram, life-saving chemotherapy, or temporarily uncomfortable dental surgery), a great many women like abortion itself.

"Rather than trying to cozy up to the forced-birth camp, women who value their freedom should be proud to say that they like abortion. In fact, they should venerate it wholeheartedly. Abortion is our last refuge, the one final, definitive instrument that secures our bodily autonomy. What's not to love?"

Compiled by Baptist Press assistant editor Erin Roach and Washington bureau chief Tom Strode. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net

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