Californians want more ed in their sex ed

Survey says Californians -- even conservative ones -- want more than abstinence-only sex education.

Published January 6, 2006 1:20PM (EST)

So, we mentioned a little while ago that abstinence-only sex ed recently got a big no vote from the scientific community. (Shocker.) Well, Thursday's San Francisco Chronicle alerted us to another population that isn't too keen on the all-abstinence approach: Californians. According to a recent survey by the Public Policy Institute of California, 78 percent of the state's residents "endorse sex education programs that also teach children how to get and use contraceptives, and think the federal government should pay for the instruction."

This may not seem like a big deal at first; the Governator aside, California has a very liberal reputation. But actually, survey director Mark Parnassus says, conservative and liberal respondents alike supported accurate sex ed and contraception access: "The thing that struck me is the broad consensus for programs that promote birth control and sex education -- support across racial and ethnic and regional and political categories to make birth control accessible and available."

Here's another heartening tidbit: Seventy-two percent of state residents don't want to see Roe v. Wade overturned, and that includes 52 percent of the survey respondents who consider themselves evangelical Christians.

By Page Rockwell

Page Rockwell is Salon's editorial project manager.

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