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Bill on human growth and development generates varied reactions in the Kentucky legislature.

Video presentation during the House Health Services Committee meeting 02-29-24
Stu Johnson
Video presentation during the House Health Services Committee meeting 02-29-24

Legislative committee consideration of a sex education measure included very diverse opinions about its content. The bill requires public school districts, as part of a health curriculum, to include instruction on human growth and development. That could involve the class showing of a three-minute computer-generated video on conception and fetal growth. GOP Committee Chair Kim Moser said the “Baby Olivia” video shown to lawmakers is not mandated in the bill.

“No one is saying it needs to be this one. This doesn’t really opine religiosity or I mean it really is just a very general starting point for a conversation with kids,” said Moser.

The requirement would be for students in grades six and up. Parents would receive information two weeks prior and could then opt to have their children participate in the instruction. Several people expressed opposition to the measure saying it had inaccuracies and carried a philosophical political ideology. Rob Matthew of Louisville called it faith-based anti-abortion propaganda in class under the guise of sex education.

Dr. Miranda Bencomo is a Louisville pediatrician. Bencomo said currently there’s not good education about contraception and healthy pregnancy maintenance.

“So I don’t see why we would start educating with this video which is coming from a philosophical perspective before we’re giving children the details they’ll actually need as they become young adults who are making decisions for their own health and that of others,” said Bencomo.

Michael Johnson with the Family Foundation testified in support of the measure. He said middle and high school students should have access to this information. GOP Bill Sponsor Nancy Tate said the showing of the video is not required, but it would be an easy start. Louisville Democratic Representative Lisa Wilner said lawmakers might be surprised at how little children in Middle School know on the topic, adding many are vulnerable and a blank slate.

HB 346 easily passed out of committee.

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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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