Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 106
04/12/2016 03:00 PM House HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES
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SB 89-SCHOOLS: PARENT RTS;ABORT. PROVDRS LIMITS 3:10:27 PM CHAIR SEATON announced that the next order of business would be CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 89(RLS) am(efd add), "An Act relating to a parent's right to direct the education of a child; prohibiting a school district from contracting with an abortion services provider; prohibiting a school district from allowing an abortion services provider to furnish course materials or provide instruction concerning sexuality or sexually transmitted diseases; relating to physical examinations for teachers; and providing for an effective date." CHAIR SEATON reminded the members that during the last meeting the committee received testimony from the sponsor, his office staff, a limited amount of public testimony, quite a bit of written testimony, and some calls to his office. He advised that testimony would begin today with the state epidemiologist and to look at some of the Department of Health and Social Services' considerations on this bill. 3:11:06 PM JOE MCLAUGHLIN, M.D., Chief and State Epidemiologist, Section of Epidemiology, Division of Public Health, Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), said he was available to answer questions. CHAIR SEATON asked Dr. McLaughlin to lead the committee through information on epidemiology and sexually transmitted diseases, teen pregnancies and, in the doctor's opinion, how it relates to education on those issues. DR. MCLAUGHLIN responded that Alaska has the unfortunate distinction of having one of the highest STD rates in the country. Historically over the last decade and one-half, Alaska has been number one or two in the country for chlamydia infection, and in the past six to seven years Alaska has been in the top ten for gonorrhea infection. He offered that chlamydia is the most commonly reported sexually transmitted bacteria in the United States, and untreated chlamydia infection can cause a number of adverse problems down the road, which includes miscarriage, pre-term labor, low birth rate, conjunctivitis and pneumonia in neo-nates, pelvic inflammatory disease which can cause infertility in women, chronic pelvic pain, and problems in men as well. As for gonorrhea infection, it can also lead to many of the same problems faced with chlamydia infection, including pelvic inflammatory disease that can lead to infertility in women which is a major problem for these women. He offered that Molly Rosier was available to answer questions regarding birth rates. 3:13:34 PM CHAIR SEATON noted that Dr. McLaughlin had provided the committee with a number of charts and graphs with public health data and asked whether education on these matters aids in the reduction of rates, and the rates in areas where education is stressed versus areas not stressing education. DR. MCLAUGHLIN responded that a research articles he will send to the committee was published in 2008, entitled, "Abstinence only in comprehensive sex education and the initiation of sexual activity and teen pregnancy." He explained that the upshot of this publication was that, teaching about contraception was not associated with an increased risk of adolescent sexual activity or STDs. He further explained that adolescents receiving comprehensive sexual education have a lower risk of pregnancy than adolescents receiving abstinence only or no sex education. 3:15:14 PM MOLLY ROSIER, Manager, Child and Adolescent Health Unit, Women's, Children's, Family, Health Section, Division of Public Health, Department of Health and Social Services, advised that 2014 data identifies for ages 15-19, the rate was 27.8 per 1,000 years which is about the national average. Although, she related it is striking that in Alaska there are huge regional disparities which can be the result of access to care or perceptions around pregnancy and child birth. At the state and national level it is known that evidenced based, age appropriate, health education can reduce teen pregnancy. The Office of Adolescent Health identified the number of health education curriculums that have evidence of effectiveness to reduce teen pregnancies, she said. CHAIR SEATON asked whether she has a listing of those that have been effective at reducing teen pregnancies. MS. ROSIER advised the list is provided by the Office of Adolescent Health, and also a number of other nationally searchable sites that she would be happy to share. CHAIR SEATON asked her to share that information with the committee. CHAIR SEATON opened public testimony on SB 89. 3:17:43 PM JUDY ANDREE said she is testifying on behalf of herself, her family, and her husband. She related that she and her husband have five children that graduated from Juneau-Douglas High School (JDHS), four of them were enrolled in a health class when it was required and it offered sex education. She asked her children whether anything had been discussed about abortion, and they responded no and appeared surprised that she even brought it up. Subsequent to last week's hearing, she researched the Planned Parenthood website and found the information for teens, educators, and parents to be fair, non-judgmental, and unbiased. She also found references to abstinence and adoption and that the information urged people to consider their religious beliefs as they made choices about reproductive health care. Ms. Andree stressed that that information was important, as she and her husband want their children, and now grandchildren, to be taught with solid science based information on something as important as reproductive health. She expressed that they feel it is their right as parents to be certain everything that is taught in public schools, which they support, contains solid fact based education. Reproductive health is an important area of human behavior and it can have a big impact on teen-agers, they strongly urge the committee to vote no on SP 89, she expressed. REPRESENTATIVE FOSTER noted he has a bill hearing in another committee and will return after the hearing. 3:20:53 PM TYLER MORGAN, Student, advised he has friends who have experienced teen pregnancy and STDs. He described these problems as real and that Planned Parenthood aims to prevent these problems through education. He pointed out that a student would rather speak with a professional rather than a teacher or parent who may not know so much on the topic. Whereas, Planned Parenthood has been shown to help students in health class, in retreats, in student groups, and the information provided is free of charge and available for everyone. Supporters of this bill claim that parents are the only people who should educate their teens on the topic; however, he has personally known parents who allow their teen-ager to have sex whenever they want. Hearing this, he asked, does this make you feel safe about the parent being the only person to educate their teen on the topic. He further asked, what if the parent was not educated correctly during their teen years and how that could affect their youth or, what if the parent was sexually abusive, or absent due to jail or work. The committee may think he is exaggerating, he expressed, but these are real life situations and they affect students in Alaska every day. In only allowing parents to teach their teens means that not all teens will be taught which could result in an increase in unwanted pregnancies and further spread of STDs, he pointed out. 3:22:48 PM JAYNE ANDREEN, Alaska Public Health Association, Alaska Women's Lobby, said she is testifying on behalf of the Alaska Public Health Association, as well as the Alaska Women's Lobby, and that both organizations are opposed to SB 89. It is important to recognize, when reviewing this bill, the issues everyone agrees with, including: not wanting our teens to become pregnant; not wanting them to contracting sexually transmitted infections; and desperately wanting parents to be actively engaged in their children's education. That being said, she commented, when reviewing this bill, people have to consider that children are receiving their sex education information through the media and the internet. Currently, studies show that 25 percent of all web searches are looking for sex, and studies are showing that the average age children are accessing the free internet porn is 11 years of age. She repeated that 11 years old is the age they are starting to see this and no matter how well parents try to protect their children from getting this information on the internet, they are still getting it. Studies consistently show, she said, that the more children are exposed to and looking at this explicit internet sex, the greater the chances they will become sexually active at a younger age. Internet pornography is not the loving soft sexual engagement parents would like their children to have, and it is imperative that parents provide them with a counter-balance to what society is making accessible to them. She extended that public health nursing has been referenced as a viable option, but between state fiscal year 2016 and 2017, twenty-five percent of public health nursing staff are being eliminated so they are not available to teach, she related. 3:25:18 PM LISA LAGUQUIST said she is a former middle school and high school teacher, aunt of four teen-agers, and a mother of two small children. She pointed out that the few people testifying in favor of the [related] bills are actually testifying against abortion, but these bills do not have anything to do with abortion - they are about education. She surmised that these bills would increase the rate of unplanned pregnancy and; therefore, increase the rate of abortion. She asked the legislators in the room how many have attended a Planned Parenthood presentation, and stated that she has attended two, and that they helped clarify her values and how to present values for her students. She attested that she has been to Planned Parenthood programs for adults and described them as very worthwhile. Subsequent to testimonies in committee hearings, people have stopped her and expressed their appreciation for her testimony and expressed that this bill is crazy. Alaska has numerous funding problems and there isn't enough money for education, yet this is free education in schools and this bill wants to cut it which makes no sense, she said. She pointed out that Senator Dunleavy and others have stated that they believe in sex education and asked why teachers can't teach it. She responded that teachers are not prepared and they don't want to, students don't want their teachers teaching it, and nurses can't teach it. In attempting to do more, she produced over 120 signatures of students, teacher, and private citizens from Juneau who want to be able to invite Planned Parenthood into Juneau schools. 3:28:44 PM KYLER ROMME, Senior, Thunder Mountain High School, said he is a senior and a current member of the Juneau Teen Council. She expressed strong opposition to SB 89, and advised it proceeds to ban educators, such as Planned Parenthood, from being invited into schools or even providing resources for teachers or other volunteers to use. The bill makes it harder for students to receive the education they not only deserve, but need. The opt- in system is not only unnecessary, but another waste of time and resources because the opt-out system has been used as long as he can remember and it has worked perfectly fine. He said he does not understand the need to implement these rules when there are no problems. He reminded the committee that this is the second year in a row that people who care about the education of their youth have had to stand up and fight a seemingly impossible battle, a battle that should not even be happening. Alaska leads the nation in a lot of not so wonderful categories, such as chlamydia rates among 15-19 year olds and teen pregnancy rates. He related that he hopes the voices of the people calling for this heinous bill to be stopped will be heard, and urged the committee to vote no on SB 89, so their children and the youth of Alaska can receive what they need to grow up the safest and happiest that they can. 3:30:16 PM ANALICIA CASTANEDA, Senior, Thunder Mountain High School, advised that for the past three years she has been a member of the Juneau Teen Council, an organization through Planned Parenthood that focuses on spreading information about healthy relationships and healthy sexuality. This group of dedicated teens meet weekly to discuss topics such as boundaries, consent, and what an unhealthy relationship may look like, and that being a volunteer of Planned Parenthood has proven to be a successful manner for her to use her role as a peer leader in her school to spread knowledge and empowerment. She expressed that banning Planned Parenthood would also ban her and her fellow Teen Council members from going into classrooms and peer educating. She remarked that as a teen-ager it is extremely powerful to learn from someone their age rather than an adult they can't totally relate to. Planned Parenthood staff and Teen Council members are trained on how to be inclusive and medically accurate when teaching a class while also making the discussion interesting and engaging. As you know, Alaska does not have mandated sex education, yet it is important for teens to become familiar with discussions about consent, healthy relationships, and personal boundaries. Letting people from Planned Parenthood provide information about sexuality ensures that students are receiving comprehensive and medically accurate information. There is no guarantee that what teachers tell students about sexuality is accurate due to the lack of mandated curriculum. Planned Parenthood provides teachers and students with resources and information about creating healthy relationships and sexual assault prevention. She asked that the committee allow Planned Parenthood to continue its work in schools so that students will receive the facts and not turn to unreliable sources. CHAIR SEATON asked whether the education she is providing focuses on or deals with abortion. MS. CASTANEDA responded no, they would never bring up abortion in a classroom and it is not something they would focus on. 3:32:48 PM TASHA ELIZARDE, Junior, Juneau-Douglas High School, advised that as a teen-ager, she noticed the lack of access to medically accurate sexual health education at home because, as many teens, she did not learn much about her own body until it was introduced through the public education system. For example, she said she was extremely confused the first time she experienced her menstruation cycle because it was never discussed amongst her family members or her peers, and she then grew ashamed of her own body for doing something completely natural. It was not until after her mother discovered she had started her period that she was finally taught a little bit about the process, but even then most of the information she needed came from school. Alaskan youth must have access to a comprehensive education to prevent fear and shame from occurring and, unfortunately, SB 89's opt-in policy creates a barrier for teens who need this education. The opt-in policy does not ensure that parents will become more involved in their children's education and, she pointed out it takes away the student's right to much needed information because if the form is not turned in on time, the student is automatically excluded from learning about healthy relationships, their anatomy, or sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention. Furthermore, she stressed, in the event a child is being abused by their parent or guardian, the abuser can simply not sign the form that would allow their child to gain access to lifesaving lessons mandated through the Alaska Safe Children's Act. Alaskan youth need to have access to medically accurate, comprehensive sexual education and SB 89 will only decrease the needed accessibility, she stressed and asked that the committee not pass SB 89. 3:35:21 PM DEANNA HOBBS, Senior, Thunder Mountain High School, shared that she has attended Alaska Association of Student Governments (AASG) youth conference where 37 schools and 300 students from all regions of Alaska come together and discuss resolutions, and the executive board members offered SB 89 as a topic for discussion. She related that there were teens opposing abortion, opposing Planned Parenthood, teens loving Planned Parenthood, people from all over Alaska with completely different ideas and thoughts, and incredibly they all came together in opposition to this bill. All of the teens voted to oppose SB 89, and she asked those in favor of the bill to consider why it is that teens do not support it. She related that she is a three-year Teen Council member and that she would like to open the floor to answer any questions the committee members may have. MS. HOBBS explained that Teen Council members, when invited, go into classrooms and meet with youth groups. A few members went to Anchorage for a youth conference where topics were discussed such as sexuality - what it means and why it's not scary - and STIs and anatomy, because it is so much easier to connect with peers than with adults, which is so important. The entire program would be stopped if this bill passes, which she opined would be sad because there have been improvements in one-on-one conversations due to Teen Council members learning so much that they have passed their knowledge to other people. She reiterated her willingness to answer any questions. 3:37:56 PM REPRESENTATIVE TARR noted that in the past, the Alaska Association of Student Government took a position in favor of comprehensive sexuality education. She noted that the youth conference Ms. Hobbs had discussed took the position of opposition to SB 89, and she asked whether that had been in the form of a formal resolution and, if so, whether Ms. Hobbs could forward it to the committee. MS. HOBBS confirmed that it was a formal resolution that had been sent to the Senate, and she could provide it to the committee. CHAIR SEATON advised that the committee would like to include the resolution with the committee records. MS. HOBBS said she will get it to the committee. 3:38:49 PM CAROLINE STORM thanked the testifying high school students for their testimonies as they are the ones the committee needs to hear from, and that it takes a lot of courage to testify in front of a legislative committee. She advised she is in opposition to this bill, Planned Parenthood provides evidence based, accredited reproductive education and she was unsure why the bill is trying to counter that. This is a direct attack on the health and safety of young adults that do not have the resources of loving family guidance. She pointed out the responsibility of protecting the health and safety of Alaska's young adults, and stressed that this bill does not do that. Rather, it strips them of the resources they desperately need. She asked whether this committee had seen data or any report indicating that the accredited curriculum in question, provided by Planned Parenthood, teaches about abortion or has directly lead to an abortion. 3:40:16 PM CHRISTOPHER KURKA, Executive Director, Alaska Right to Life, offered that during another committee meeting, Representative Lora Reinhold had asked a Planned Parenthood representative whether the allegations were true that Planned Parenthood was encouraging 10 year olds to have sex and was promoting the idea that it is alright for a person with HIV not to tell his/her sex partner. He related that he had available screen captures from Planned Parenthood's web site, because the Planned Parenthood representative denied [the allegations] categorically. He advised that Planned Parenthood "lied to you." Mr. Kurka stated that the Planned Parenthood web site has a book it promotes for 10 year olds and older, titled It's Perfectly Normal. He said he does not understand why this is considered appropriate sex education for young children, because "this is porn, basically." Furthermore, he stated, a publication Planned Parenthood promotes internationally is entitled, Happy, Healthy, and Hot. He read, "Young people living ... with HIV have the right to decide if, when, and how to disclose their HIV status." He continued reading another line from the publication, as follows: "Your decision about whether to disclose may change with different people and situations. You have the right to decide if, when, and how to disclose your HIV status." Mr. Kurka submitted that if the concern is preventing HIV, and Alaskans support reducing the amount of STDs in the state, then Planned Parenthood is not the answer. 3:42:57 PM DOUG KOESTER said he is representing the Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic and opposes SB 89. Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic in Homer is an independent non-profit founded by community members worried about teen pregnancy rates, and it has taught sex education in the schools for 20 years. In fact, he related, yesterday he and his colleagues with the peer educator team talked in the Chapman School, Anchor Point, where the teachers were thankful they were teaching sex education. The teachers made it clear, he related, that the students do not want to be taught sex education by their regular teachers, because it is not a comfortable subject to teach and the students do not like to ask their regular teachers questions involving these topics. He clarified that the Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic has a lot of experience in the schools, and although they are not Planned Parenthood or funded by Planned Parenthood, they work with peer educators of the Teen Council. He described them as some of the most amazing, educated, and empathetic people the committee will ever meet. Mr. Koester said Planned Parenthood as an organization "is really not who we are talking about." He clarified that the discussion is about people who are doing a very difficult job in the schools. He explained that the discussion is about intense issues and not everyone wants to do that. He emphasized that those from the clinic are some of the most educated and the most empathetic people in terms of teaching sex education. CHAIR SEATON thanked him for his work in Homer, and noted he has attended some of the lessons the group taught. 3:45:35 PM ARLENE RONDA said is speaking for herself and her grandchildren in opposition to the two amendments to SB 89, regarding the abortion providers and she opined that most of the testifiers were speaking to that today. She saluted the teens who have testified and who marvelously spoke their truth. She then referred to Sections 3 and 5 of the bill which speak to the abortion providers and pointed out that when the district does not include abortion information in its curriculum and when parents have the right to view materials and opt-out of all human sexuality presentations as they clearly do, these [sections] are superfluous. Both [sections] go well beyond protecting parental rights, and they attempt to codify a partisan view and; therefore, she urged the committee to reject both of the [sections]. CHAIR SEATON advised that the committee has the [committee substitute that includes the two amendments in the bill] and that possibly the amendments she was discussing were added before the bill came to House Health, Education and Social Services Standing Committee. 3:47:41 PM ED GRAY said he is a parent with two teen-agers enrolled in the Sitka School District, and he urged the committee to support SB 89. In September 2013, Planned Parenthood moved into the Sitka schools with several Planned Parenthood supporters on the school board and one in the administration. He was one of approximately 150 families to oppose Planned Parenthood in the public schools. Planned Parenthood is able to exist, function, and educate but they don't think they should be in the schools. Those families view public school as common ground where anyone with any set of values can send their children, and they believe that Planned Parenthood has a specific agenda in what it does and they do not agree with its agenda. The reasons being that Planned Parenthood kills 335,000 unborn children a year, it promotes sexual activity, it does use child porn, and it promotes an agenda these families do not agree with. He reiterated that they believe it is common ground, they just don't believe it belongs in the public school. He then referred to the previous testimonies of young people throughout the course of this bill, but the committee should remember that these young people are being recruited by Planned Parenthood in the schools to come to these hearings and testify. 3:50:02 PM JULIE STROEMER said she has children and grandchildren in the school system and advised she is strongly in favor of SB 89. She stated that she pulled her child out of school when the Planned Parenthood representative came in to teach. It was inappropriate and distasteful, she opined, that the number one abortion provider in the United States and perhaps the world, would have anything to do with sex education in public schools. The children were asked to fill out a form and she found it disturbing that Planned Parenthood asked for the children's personal email addresses and she opined that by obtaining email addresses from these children, it was actually establishing a client base. Her child was not in the classroom so she could not speak to exactly what was said, but her classmates said that many of the things the Planned Parenthood representative said was inappropriate, and it has no place in our public schools. Planned Parenthood will benefit from the millions of dollars that will be made off of unplanned pregnancies, she said. 3:51:46 PM ANN BILLS said she raised five children in Sitka, she has grandchildren in the school system, she took care of her children's sex education needs, and it should be passed as written. She noted that a Planned Parenthood representative stated it has been in this state 20 years, and the next representative advised that Alaska has the highest STDs in the country. She commented that if it has been in Alaska 20 years and Alaska has the highest STD rate in the country, it hasn't made any progress for Alaskans. The [Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic in Homer] appears to be a non-profit and that is a different picture than an organization that makes money should not be in Alaska's schools. She related that she can't go in and have a course about things she wants people to buy from her, and she appreciates the sanctity of life and parental rights. 3:53:20 PM CANDY MILLER opined that most Alaskans have seen and heard a lot of the verifiable contents which promoted the investigation of Planned Parenthood nationwide, and she does know how this investigation is moving forward in Alaska. Crimes against children is well known in Alaska and nationwide, and also about trafficking. She referred to the testimony of a woman who acknowledged that the abortion providers were in it for the money. She said that a portion of the Planned Parenthood agenda is the arm that is being exposed is a money factor - a money mill - and she opined there is a need for people to call a halt to that in Alaska. Alaskan taxpayers should not subsidize abortion businesses such as Planned Parenthood who profits from the destruction of human life with taxpayer money, 3:55:36 PM BARBARA HANEY said she requests the support of SB 89, is representing herself, and works extensively with Alaskans Against Common Core. "We hemmed and hawed" about some of the Planned Parenthood provisions, mostly about opting out of testing so why, she asked not allow parents to opt-out of any other activity to which they object. She then referred to issues having to do with common core and said the Alaska Standards, like Common Core, does have units for reading and writing, science technology, and social studies. An Oregon math teacher, Bill (indisc.), was terminated for not allowing Planned Parenthood in his math class, which promoted her to consider that including provisions against Planned Parenthood in classrooms would be a good thing. It is one thing to have Planned Parenthood in the communities and churches, but another thing when discussing it going into the public schools, which is an extension of the state, she said. Therefore, the state would be saying that the state sanctions their opinion over the opinion of other people, but they are not the only people who have sex education curriculum. Planned Parenthood works with the CDC and yet these organizations have their own independent free standing curriculums that can be used to that end. She pointed out that if the committee truly cares about STDs it should look at Interior Alaska because STDs have declined and not in the rest of the state, she said. 3:58:25 PM DAVE CARTER, Attorney, urged to leave this bill in its committee and let it die. He asked the committee to consider the Alaska State Constitution, Article VII, Section 1, which read: The legislature shall by general law establish and maintain a system of public schools open to all children of the State, and may provide for other public educational institutions. Schools and institutions so established shall be free from sectarian control. No money shall be paid from public funds for the direct benefit of any religious or other private educational institution. MR. CARTER stated that all of the comments in favor of the bill are blatantly of sectarian philosophy and they violate the constitution with this attempted legislation. He referred to Article VII, Sections 4-5, which read: Section 4: The legislature shall provide for the promotion and protection of public health. Section 5: The legislature shall provide for public welfare. 3:59:43 PM MR. CARTER pointed out that "shall" is a specific word to lawyers and judges; therefore, it is easy for the committee to pay attention to the constitutional requirement that guide the committee and say that this is simply an inappropriate proposal. The legislation is blatantly religious and that it talks about religion at various points. He put forth the scenario of one parent wanting their child to go to class and the other doesn't and the child's parent has to give permission. He asked what happens when referring to biblical sources and the husband has authority over what the wife wants to do. He stressed that it doesn't make sense, is not a workable bill, and to please let the bill die a quick death. 4:00:37 PM MOIRA PYHALA said she is a student at UAA, and is President of Generation Action - Students for Reproductive Justice. She related that she is in opposition to SB 89, which would not only limit school districts but is a legislative biased attack on abortion providers and specifically Planned Parenthood. In order to become a certified abortion facilitator, an individual must not only attend four years of hard labor intensive medical school, continue further studies, specialize in gynecology, and is required to receive hands on training specializing in abortions. In total, she commented, this training can take 6-8 years to complete. Being raised by someone in the health field she knows that this is the same amount of knowledge and training that almost anyone in the medical field must undergo, so she asked why are we alienating a single profession, questioning capabilities to reciprocate and teach health because they have almost the same amount of knowledge and wisdom that is required with any health profession, and it is the same amount of knowledge her basic health provider must have. She advised that her father is a doctor who has presented several times in her school, and not once has any person questioned his knowledge or whether he was unfit to teach in the schools. She described herself as an advocate for the brilliant doctors, nurses, and volunteers who are not with us today and she listed the numerous Planned Parenthood health providers who were shot and killed. She said she stands for them, including all people who have been physically and verbally attacked for standing up for reproductive rights. As an active member of Generation Action - Students for Reproductive Justice, she said she stands until the attack on abortion providers, both physically and verbally in state and federal government is part of this state's past. She then pointed out that Senator Dunleavy's attack towards Planned Parenthood is not only impractical but a waste of time. Just because an individual has a history of providing an abortion does not mean they are teaching that abortion is the only option. Planned Parenthood and all groups associated with the organization are working together to provide options for young women and men, she related. 4:03:19 PM DAVID NEES said he has no problem with SB 89, Section 2; however, there is no definition in Section 3 of an educational service organization and a definition would be useful. He turned to Section 4, Physical examination for teachers, and related that as a teacher he is required to pay for a yearly TB test out of his own pocket. He referred to Section 5, and offered that Public Law, population research, and voluntary family planning was passed in 1970, signed into law by President Richard Nixon, and has been in place for 46 years. Within the last 18 years in the areas of the urban part of the state, the birth rates for teens has gone down 10 percent, yet for Alaska Natives in rural areas it has up 10 percent. He related that schools are a place to present information and he is torn because he does not know whether banning a particular provider will help the system or make the system worse. In the event the committee is looking at this bill as a public health issue, the committee must talk to the state's public health people and determine the best way to get information out and reduce the cost of teen pregnancy. Whether it is best delivered in a school setting or delivered by outside organizations meeting at the school house after school hours. The problem has always been difficult and, he related when he taught junior high school, the PE teacher would be picked to teach the health classes who is not a trained medical professional. He offered that he has no problem with the entire bill basically, although, he would like to see physical examinations free for teachers, and the definition of educational service organization included. 4:05:51 PM KATHY CRONEN said she has worked for many years with Alaskan youth having been the CEO for Northstar Behavioral Health System for over 20 years, and that she retired in 2005 to join the faculty at Alaska Pacific University where she continues her experience with youth in teaching health care policy, finance, and economics. Speaking as a leader and an educator, she said she knows firsthand the importance of not restricting access to information that is vital for healthy decision making. In addition to being a healthcare administrator and educator she is also a mother having raised three daughters to adulthood. As a parent, she believes sex education should begin at home but as a professional she knows this does not always happen. She noted that several young people testified they did not receive sex education at home, or were uncomfortable about asking questions at home. As a healthcare administrator she related that she has seen firsthand the personal and financial cost to people who make poor decisions regarding drug and alcohol abuse and sexual activity. Many statistics were brought forth in testimonies about the number of STDs and teen pregnancies in this state, and it is well known that education works and referred to the education programs to end smoking, to prevent drug and alcohol abuse, she commented. Alaska is in the midst of a financial crisis and the state and the school districts needs to work collaboratively with providers. She referred to the possibility of Planned Parenthood not providing these services in the schools, and urged the committee to consider who would provide those services. Over 2,000 children received sexual education from Planned Parenthood last year, who will do this if Planned Parenthood is restricted. The suggestion of teachers taking on this responsibility has been put forth, yet teachers barely have time to teach core curriculum. She asked whether additional teachers would be hired, what experience and training would be required to teach this, and what would be the overall cost to the state. In the event a new provider, other than teachers, is recruited from the community who will they be, and what will they charge. She reiterated that the state is in a fiscal crisis, and it is known that education works, and the state has a provider who is willing to do this, she urged the committee members not to pass SB 89. 4:08:52 PM KRISTEN DEHAVEN, Junior, Highland Tech Charter School, opined that teens have the right to comprehensive, unbiased, non- judgmental medical information, and by passing SB 89 it would be an obstruction to [Article I], Section 1, of the Alaska State Constitution because it takes away the teen's right to education. Passage of this bill would prevent teens from making educated informational knowledge about their health and sex education should be taught at school because at home they may not actually be taught. Sex education should be given in a safe and accurate manner that is unbiased, which is a great thing for teens. She opined that passing this bill would probably increase pregnancy and STD rates which is exactly what Alaskans want to prevent, and to please vote no on SB 89. 4:10:34 PM HENRY SCHILDBECK, Senior, Highland Tech Charter School, said he is a Teen Council member and explained that Teen Council is a group of teen-agers dedicated to providing comprehensive, medically accurate, sexual education to teens in their own schools and schools within the Anchorage School District. Teens in this program receive extensive training on how to educate other teens on topics that range from sexual and reproductive health to healthy relationships. The goals are education, prevention, and to enable people to live healthy, happy lives. To fill a gap in teens' lives by providing the resources of trained knowledgeable and non-judgmental information regardless of the question. Alaska has no standardize sexual health education and less than one-quarter of Alaskan schools teach the recommended HIV, STD, and pregnancy prevention topics during the 2013-2014 school year, he related. Alaska is rated 47th with only three other states having less sexual health education. With Alaska being ranked number one in the nation for chlamydia and with teen pregnancy rates on the rise, this is completely unacceptable. He pointed out that teachers invite Teen Council and Planned Parenthood into their classrooms to supplement lessons, filling in a gap to the state's inaction to set up comprehensive sex education. It has been consistently shown that comprehensive sex education, such as the kind offered by Planned Parenthood and Teen Council is extremely effective in reducing STIs, delaying the start sexual activity, and lowering teen pregnancy rates. He pointed out that the first goal should be to teach comprehensive sex education rather than plunge Alaska's youth into the dark about their own bodies. This legislation would turn the opt-out system into an opt-in system destroying any hope of Erin's Law and comprehensive sex education reaching those who need it the most. The sexual child abuse rates are over six times the national average, and the [sponsor] should be ashamed to introduce a bill such as this in Alaska. Teachers, students and communities rely upon Planned Parenthood and Teen Council to provide sex education information and passage would be disastrous for teens and communities already struggling with education, he said. Speaking as a teen, a constituent, and voice for his peers, he requested that the committee oppose SB 89, and allow comprehensive sexual education to be taught in schools rather than shied away from. 4:12:35 PM LILY SPIROSKI, Ninth Grader, Highland Tech Charter School, said that as an older sister and a student at a charter school, she wants a program such as Planned Parenthood and Teen Council to teach her and her younger siblings about safe sex and healthy relationships and abstinence, and she has learned about abstinence and prevention of infections. As a teen and a voice of her peers, she requested opposition to SB 89, and to allow the continuation of comprehensive, medically accurate sexual health education by Planned Parenthood and Teen Council. 4:13:25 PM CLEO SWEETMAN, Junior, Highland Tech Charter School, said that comprehensive, medically accurate sexual education is an important and necessary subject to be taught in middle school and high school. As a teen-ager, she said, she has a need and a right to know everything about what is alright and what is not for her and her body. Programs that provide sexual education in middle schools and high schools establish and maintain a comfortable and non-judgmental learning environment with accurate answers for any questions students may have. She reminded the committee that puberty, sex, birth control, pregnancy, STDs and healthy relationships are all things teen- agers need to know about, otherwise Alaska will continue to have the twelfth highest teen pregnancy rates, the highest STD rates, and the highest domestic abuse rates. She related that she is a teen-ager, a constituent, and a voice for her peers who did not make it in today, she opposes SB 89, and requested the continuation of comprehensive, medically accurate sexual education in middle schools and high schools. 4:14:42 PM TANNER DUNN, Senior, Highland Tech Charter School, said he opposes this bill because he believes all teens should have access to unbiased medically accurate information, and Planned Parenthood gives out this information free of charge. Whether on their web site or through a representative at a school, this bill would starve teens of this vitally important information. The passage of this bill would lead to an increase in teen pregnancy and teen STDs in Alaska, and he asked that the committee vote no on SB 89. 4:15:18 PM ROBIN SMITH said that most parents find dealing with their teen- ager's sexuality to be difficult because parents don't want them hurt or find themselves in difficult situations such as an unintended pregnancy. For a male or female, STIs and HIV can be life changing, but many parents simply ignore it or barely touch the surface. Teens report that their main source of information about sex, dating, and sexual health comes from what they see on the media, including music videos, reality shows, beer ads, online porn, and video games. Social media is another problem because girls are pressured to send naked selfies to boys, and parents are appalled to hear that oral sex has become the new kissing, and pray that this is not true in Alaska. Parents simply want to lock up their children until they are adults, but they can't so they mustn't be blind to what is actually happening out there. Time Magazine's latest issue states that the lack of sexual education in schools has made online porn the de facto sex education for many young people. She advised that eleventh grade girls confided to her "I watch porn because I'm a virgin and I want to figure out how sex works." Porn eroticizes the degradation of women, and the biggest users of online pornography are 12-17 year old boys, and that one in five children will be approached by a sexual predator online, and she described those statistics as scary. She stressed that, yet with all of this going on over the past 20 years in survey after survey of local communities, or nationwide, 80-85 percent of parents indicate they want their children to receive comprehensive, medically accurate, age appropriate sex education. She pointed out that parents say children need to be taught about delaying the onset of intimate sexual relationships until they are mature and responsible, and also need to be given the information and skills they need to use condoms and contraception when they do choose to become sexually active. 4:17:58 PM KENNI PSENAK-LINDEN said she was born and raised in Palmer, and encouraged the committee to oppose SB 89 due to the opt-in provision for comprehensive sex education which could potentially jeopardize education funding for the state, especially in its current fiscal crisis. She said she also opposes unfairly targeting sexual health education in highly trained educators, and that as a National Baccalaureate student at Palmer High School she had the opportunity to sit on the Mat- Su School District School Board and serve as the first student on the Mat-Su School District Curriculum Council. After college, she stated, she briefly taught as a substitute teacher around the district and had the pleasure to see the transformative work taking place in its schools every day. She related that SB 89 creates harmful and unnecessary boundaries to accessing essential comprehensive and scientifically accurate reproductive health education. Curriculum standards already prevent abortions from being addressed within the classroom which means that SB 89 is misguided, likely unconstitutional, and actively undermines the purview of teachers and local educators to have local control and teach to the needs of their students, and these needs include information on healthy relationships and consent. She related that she wished her health education and the health education of her assailant had included these key lessons which may have prevented the trauma she experienced after being sexually assaulted at 15 years of age. She regards herself as lucky she came away from that experience with PTSD and not STIs or pregnancy, and she appreciates that Planned Parenthood, as an organization, stepped in to fill a gap and provide lifesaving evidenced based education. Parents have the opportunity to opt-out of any education that does not align with their values, and to please not create additional barriers for families that do want qualified and experienced educators in the classroom. Speaking as a soon to be parent herself, she and her husband have discussed the need and their overwhelming desire that their children will receive better sex education than they did, both at home and in their classrooms so please oppose SB 89, she asked. 4:20:54 PM NIAL LINDEN said he and his wife live in Palmer and he extended that sexual education is important to young people, and SB 89 should be opposed. He related that he grew up as a Catholic in Ireland where sex education was not included in the curriculum. His first girlfriend was raped by her brother's best friend when she was 11 years of age and she had no idea what or why this happened and she was naturally confused. This rape was caused by a person she saw daily as a good family friend and she had nowhere to go. For the next two years she did not receive sex education and thought she was going to have a baby at any minute because sex equals a baby. For those two years she felt shame, for two years she lived in constant fear of what was inside of her and what was going to happen and it wasn't until the ninth grade in biology that she learned that the gestation period was approximately nine months and that she wasn't pregnant. Needless to say she was markedly scarred and spent all of her young adolescent life and formative years afraid of boys, and it was six years before she ever confided in someone, and that someone was him. He stressed that he knows she still carries those scars, and if a person believes that comprehensive sex education has no place in schools, to then please think of this young girl, how she could have found sex education in school that wasn't her family or friend and she could have asked these questions. If a member believes this sort of panic is part of normal growing up then vote for this bill, but a member believes that this should never happen to anyone to please oppose this bill. The committee may vote to remove trained educators from the classroom, create barriers for students, and he pointed out that abstinence only is not a solution to sexual education. There are no sexual standards in Alaska despite its high rates of STDs and sexual abuse. Withholding information from children causes children to suffer, he related and it is completely within the committee's power to give children this information and stop the suffering. Voting as a House Health, Education and Social Services Standing Committee member, he opined that it is the committee's duty to stop the suffering, even if it is just one girl. 4:23:43 PM PAIGE HODSON related she has special expertise with some of the topics around this bill as she has survived raising three teen- agers in the Anchorage School District, and survived reviewing sex education curriculum each time it was offered. She noted that she sat in on classroom presentations, such as Planned Parenthood, and that she is adamantly opposed to SB 89, and related bills. Most teens on a typical day coming home from school have little to no response to "What did you do in school today? ... "Nothin." All parents hope that their children will come to them with questions about their bodies and sexuality, but the reality is that even in the best parent/child relationships, they often don't. As parents, the hope is that by the time their children are in middle school and high school the parents have instilled their values in their children, and at some point, a good parent has to trust that their children are fully capable of using their critical thinking skills to distill facts in school, just as they do every day in every other subject. Public schools are just that, public, a place for children to learn multiple points of view and use their critical thinking skills, and a place for children to learn facts and science which includes health and biology, she said. Planned Parenthood is the premiere sexual health educator in the country, she described, and it is ridiculous and short-sighted to target them for exclusion. She related that her children had exposure to speakers from both Planned Parenthood and an abstinence only group, and she had the option to opt her teens out of either presentation if she cared to, she didn't. However, the one that caused her more concern was the abstinence only group who pushed a shaming religious agenda and gave the children medically inaccurate information. The presenter actually said that if they have sex before marriage, they couldn't bond with their marital partners down the line and compared them to used chewing gum. Thankfully, the teacher corrected that misinformation, the presentation was so bad that the students were outraged and the teacher said they would never be invited back. Her point is that even though she didn't care for that presentation, she trusted her children to sift through what was presented and reconcile it with their values and make intelligent decisions. She remarked that this bill is based on fear, scoring political points, demonizing medical professionals, and distrust of a parent's own child's ability to learn facts in science and make healthy decision for their lives. 4:26:54 PM SHERI DELIN, Junior, Highland Tech Charter School, said that without accurate sexual education, she and her peers would lack important knowledge while moving into their adult lives. With the knowledge that Planned Parenthood provides, she said she would receive accurate information and better improve her peers' understanding of safe sexual activity. Being a teen, she noted that she would like to see Planned Parenthood remain in schools as it is now and continue to provide the accurate information as it always has. 4:27:40 PM JACOB GRIGGS, Senior, Highland Tech Charter School, related that with the internet readily available to all, accurate information is hard to come by. Planned Parenthood has consistently given accurate comprehensive sexual education and it would be a shame to see it removed from public schools. He pointed out that by passing SB 89, the committee would deny that education to thousands of growing adults, the people of the state's future. With the rampant STD and teen pregnancy rates in Alaska, removing this expertly taught sexual education would only serve to further these statistics. He then advised the committee that none of the people present were asked to provide testimony. 4:28:37 PM ZHENIA PETERSON said she is in opposition of SB 89. The public has seen several different bills attacking Planned Parenthood for parental rights, abortion, and safety for children. She explained that parental rights are present in the State of Alaska where parents can opt their children out of any subject, including sex education. This bill would add unnecessary burdens on parents by enacting the opt-in system, unnecessary burdens on the teachers for the time they would have to spend contacting parents, and it would be costly during Alaska's budget deficit. While abortion is one of the services Planned Parenthood provides, she pointed out that it does not teach, talk, or mention abortion during sex education classes. Recently, the Alaska Right to Life group posted on their Facebook page that Planned Parenthood is "quote, using pornographic materials" to promote promiscuity in Alaska's public schools, and that the state should "stop sexualizing our children." Anyone who has ever picked up a Planned Parenthood brochure can relate that Planned Parenthood does not use pornographic materials to promote promiscuity, nor do they sexualize children. Instead, she commented, the brochures contain anatomy and medically accurate information. All students should have access to sex education without barriers because sexual education is important and it will prepare students for a successful and informed adult life. Even though she is at the collegiate level, she related that she often finds her peers to be confused about informed consent, how to lead a healthy life and make healthy sexual decisions, know what STIs are and where to get treatment. Access to sex education is both critical for students and vital for this state with its epidemic with sexually transmitted diseases and sexual abuse. Therefore, she extended, teaching students what it means to be healthy and where to receive services for STI treatment and prevention would cut costs and return the saved monies to assist in the budget deficit. Planned Parenthood's role in Alaska is indispensable for students to access information, and Alaskans need to learn how to have healthy relationships with their peers and make healthy sexual decisions. She strongly urged the committee to support comprehensive sexual education in Alaska's schools to decrease high rates of STIs and make sure the state is healthy, safe, and educated. 4:31:11 PM CAROLINE AHRENS said she represents herself and her family, and they oppose SB 89. She offered that she teaches her children integrity, honesty, and open communication, although any time a Cialis or Viagra commercial comes on the television she wants to leave the room because she doesn't want to talk erections with her son. She related that she wants him to receive sexual education that is factual and correct in a comfortable setting that he has with Planned Parenthood in his school, and that she agrees with many of the students and professional that have testified before her. Her son attends a small charter school and she said, "so you want to strap them with additional costs" and that she didn't see money coming from the state. The state is saying it will take away the free program that provides sex education even though the school district, principal, teacher, parent have approved the curriculum, the state is saying it will replace it with something else "but we're not going to give you any money to do it, by the way." The committee is looking at a financially strapped state and it is not giving more money to schools, but it will take away a free service that is factual and approved education. She referred to the opt-in or opt-out provision on sex education, and stated that this is not a field trip; a field trip is the sort of thing the parent opts into. Sex education should be mandatory and the parents have the ability to opt-out but, she described, this issue is life saving and important education. The committee may not think of it as middle school or high school kids, but when they get to college and are approached on a campus, parents want them to know that what they know is factual. She stated that she and son say no to the passage of this bill. 4:33:21 PM MICAH PERION, Senior, Highland Tec Charter School, said that his experience and communications with his peers has shown that the majority of them engage in unsafe sexual activities. It worries him on a personal level because he well knows that any experience in the future could have a strong impact on his health. [Passage] of SB 89 would have detrimental effects on the youth and the future populous of the State of Alaska as it inadvertently encourages youth to practice unsafe sex leading to STDs with inaccurate, little, or zero medically accurate sexual education implemented into the school system. In the event teens and his peers are not given the option to learn the information that Planned Parenthood is offering to teach wherein teaching professional have invite Planned Parenthood to teach this information, he said he fears he will see more of his peers succumb to unsafe sexual conduct, be exposed to STDs, STIs, and underage pregnancy. He remarked that he cannot sit by idle and watch as the vital options for educating teens, and the future growth of the nation about safe sex, pregnancy prevention, and STD and STI prevention might be removed. Speaking as a teen and a constituent, he asked the committee to oppose SB 89 and allow medically accurate, comprehensive sexual education to continue. 4:34:56 PM JESSICA CLER, Public Affairs Manager, Planned Parenthood, Great Northwest and Hawaii, said she is a lifelong Alaskan, raised in Wasilla, graduate of Colony High School, graduate of UAA, and a current resident of Anchorage, speaks in opposition to SB 89. She clarified for previous testifiers that Planned Parenthood is not under investigation in Alaska because there is nothing to investigate, Planned Parenthood is a mandatory sexual abuse reporter, a trusted healthcare provider, and a trusted sexual health educator. Further, she said, the lies being promulgated against Planned Parenthood are not only inaccurate but they have nothing to do with what is taught in the classroom, and that the curriculum is adapted for each community, school, and class. Parties can disagree about sexual health education and whether it belongs in public schools, but there is no agreement that such misguided allegations should be part of the conversation. Speaking as a graduate of Alaska's public school system, she said she knows firsthand the lack of access to comprehensive, medically accurate sexual health education in the state. Alaska has no state standards for sexual health education, yet there is an epidemic of sexually transmitted infections, the highest rate of reported rape in the country, and child sexual assault rates six times the national average. She stated that her peers and she would have greatly benefited from the kind of education Planned Parenthood provides on prevention, consent, and healthy relationships. Further, Planned Parenthood fills an important gap left by the state's inaction in ensuring students have access to the information they need. In a time when the state's education system is facing unprecedented budget cuts, the legislature should be encouraging districts to use every resource available to educate its student and not limiting the school district's options for local programming. Rather than creating more barriers to educating, she pointed out that the parties should be working together to ensure that the state's youth have the resources and information needed to lead healthy and productive lives, and SB 89 does the opposite. 4:37:12 PM MATHEW FARINA, Senior, University of Alaska, Anchorage, said he is from Talkeetna and that one of the most important things for youth and everyone today is education, and that sex education is part of education. He said he has experienced the misinformation young adults have in his life as a male upper classman, especially when involving condoms and availability because people don't understand how condoms work, how to fit them, where to get them, or which condoms are proper for them. Also, he commented people are not aware that the spread of STDs is not fully stopped by a condom. Further, he stated, abortion is not allowed to be spoken of during sex education in high schools, and having an abortion provider give the sex education isn't related. People don't like Planned Parenthood teaching sex education because it informs students of the services it provides, but in addition to sex education and abortion, it also provides preventive screenings for women, such as breast exams, mammograms, free STD testing for the community, and vasectomies for males. He related that knowing about Planned Parenthood's sex education and the services it offers is important, and abortion is not part of that when speaking to high school students. 4:39:36 PM SAMANTHA SAVAGE, Senior, University of Alaska Fairbanks, said she is graduating from UAF in May with a degree in social work, and voiced her opposition to SB 89. She said that she does not believe that the bill sponsors and supporters understand the endemic rates of reproductive health issues that plague the state. In 2014, the rate of chlamydia infection was 778 persons per 100,000 statewide, and 759 persons per 100,000 persons in the Interior. The state's teen birth rate is higher than the national average and it is estimated that 49 percent of women in Fairbanks have experienced intimate partner violence in their lifetime, and four percent of women in Fairbanks have experienced sexual violence in the last year. It consistently makes the news that it is one of the most dangerous places to live as a woman in the United States. Clearly, she pointed out there is a lack of understanding both at a state and local level as to how to keep Alaskans healthy and safe. While attending Colony High School, she said the sex education she received was medically accurate, although it was not comprehensive and many of her questions were left unanswered. She extended that this bill asserts that Planned Parenthood is in schools with sinister motives and to say that Planned Parenthood is indoctrinating children is completely false, and stated that Planned Parenthood has is a long history of being committed to teaching free, comprehensive, and medically accurate sex education so all youths have the opportunity to make important health decisions for themselves. This bill, while not getting rid of sex education, puts unreasonable barriers in front of students and school districts. She asked the committee to oppose this bill because it is not in the best interests of students and the overall health of Alaskans. 4:41:26 PM LANCE ROBERTS asked that the committee consider that this bill is about parental rights. He offered that he fought it at the local level and lost because his assembly believed that government should be more important than the parents, and that it should take parental rights from them. He said he was hopeful the legislature will not make that mistake, which is why he is glad the bill was sent to this committee "even though it was sent to this committee to be slaughtered, the bill made it there so we can see who stands against parents and who is standing for them." He said he is against the committee substitute that takes away some of the parent rights from the original SB 89. He pointed to the provision regarding the ability to withdraw "them from the awful testing that the kids have been -- forced to take," and it is extremely hard for parents to get their children out of that testing. He related that the opt-in provision was to help parents and give them the ability to make those decisions for their children that they are supposed to make. He spoke against the abortion providers doing the abortion marketing in the schools, and that they desensitize by teaching promiscuity to create more product. He related that "They kill the babies and the largest genocide in history and then they sell those parts to make money." This bill is about those kind of people not being in the school, it doesn't have the integrity to be in our schools, and they are not needed in there. He asked the committee to make the right decision for the parents and the children and then clarified that Planned Parenthood doesn't perform mammograms. 4:43:33 PM REPRESENTATIVE TARR corrected the record and advised that the suggestions of the earlier allegations with videos against Planned Parenthood this summer were found to be false and the individual who made those videos was indicted for falsifying that information. 4:44:02 PM WHITNEY WIGREN voiced her support for SB 89. She is an advocate for comprehensive sexual education in schools. Sexuality is a fundamental part of human nature and it is worthy of dignity and respect; however, abortion promoting organizations such as Planned Parenthood are not suitable to teach Alaska's children. Last week she heard from an individual who identified herself as a (indisc.) Planned Parenthood sexual educator and during her testimony stated, as others have stated today, abortion is not part of the curriculum and Ms. Wigren said she found that contradictory. Under "Activities and Lessons" on the Planned Parenthood web site there are three 20-30 minutes lesson plans on abortion with a target audience of high school students. She stated that it has to be acknowledged that Planned Parenthood is the nation's leading abortion provider and in turn financially benefits when its comprehensive sex education fails and teens end up on the abortion table or swallowing the "abortion pill." She related that issues have been distorted to the point that people believe anyone opposing mothers killing their babies is waging a war on women and, she asked how people can be so foolish as to believe such a thing. One must be able to recognize the depravity to which society has sunken when valuing a baby's life is frowned upon, she stated. Enough is enough, this is a matter of life and death and she will not stand for Planned Parenthood to indoctrinate the next generation of Alaska's children to devalue human life, she advised. CHAIR SEATON announced that SB 98 would be held until later in the meeting to accommodate Dr. Humphreys, who was available for his confirmation hearing. SB 89-SCHOOLS: PARENT RTS;ABORT. PROVDRS LIMITS 4:50:44 PM CHAIR SEATON announced that as its final order of business, the committee would return to CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 89(RLS) am(efd add), "An Act relating to a parent's right to direct the education of a child; prohibiting a school district from contracting with an abortion services provider; prohibiting a school district from allowing an abortion services provider to furnish course materials or provide instruction concerning sexuality or sexually transmitted diseases; relating to physical examinations for teachers; and providing for an effective date." 4:51:19 PM CHRISTIN MILLER expressed her support of SB 89, and that she is in support of proper sexual education in schools but does not support the education specifically coming from Planned Parenthood. Not only does she not agree with Planned Parenthood's content, she opposes its support of abortion in Alaska and the nation. Parents should have every right to decide whether or not their children are taught such things which is why she is in full support of SB 89, she said. 4:52:07 PM PAMELA SAMASH, Right to Life, Interior Alaska, said she represents Right to Life, Interior Alaska, her family, and herself. She advised she is a parent of four daughters, that she has found a gross lack of transparency in the Planned Parenthood curriculum, asked how anyone can allow tax dollars to go to an organization that is hiding information from [parents], and how can legislators regulate what is being taught as they do with teachers if it's not transparent. She further asked about all of the other less controversial alternatives, such as the CareNet Resource Pregnancy Center and opined that teachers and parents are capable educators and will support the students, even in sex education. She referred to the testifiers from Sitka with awful experiences that shouldn't be ignored. She advised that these are public school children, they deserve better than an abortion industry profiting from their sexual experiences, teaching them their biased values, and they deserve parents and qualified teachers. She asked that the committee vote yes and protect children. 4:53:50 PM ALETA GEER said she supports SB 89, is a grandmother and great grandmother, and is against Planned Parenthood's involvement with Alaska's children in any manner whatsoever. Even though, she agreed it may offer some good services, the major part of what it does is morally and ethically wrong and that any allowance of its involvement in educating students is just saying that what it is doing is okay. She agrees there are other organizations out there that would be more beneficial and education is important because she has seen the results of students not knowing what is going on. She wishes she had been educated but her family was too shy to even confront the issue. She related that the schools are focusing so much on sex that that is all the students seem to be talking about and doing, rather than focusing on the education of academics. She pointed out that sex education is important but there is so much more to it than just the education, which is part of the problem, because it is emotional. 4:56:16 PM BUTCH MOORE noted that it is important to consider that there is a relatively small group of people pushing this bill. The real effect of this bill was stated by a teacher in Homer at a previous committee meeting, such that the difference in the opt- in and opt-out is a huge portion of this bill. He opined they had 268 students, two of those students opted out and if this bill passes there will be a mandatory opt-in. He pointed out that the Homer teacher explained that if 10-20 percent of the parents are not active with their children, they won't get the paperwork back to the teacher so the child who desperately needs the education because they don't have a parent that is teaching them and being active, those 10-20 percent will not receive the education. In addition, the teacher mentioned that she will have to handle 268 pieces of paper. He noted that when the bill comes up for a vote to consider that parents opposed to this education have the right to opt their children out. Currently, the parents expressing concern can opt their children out, Alaskans do not need this bill. Potentially, the parents that are not active with their children and do not opt their children in, those are the children who really need the education because they may be suffering from abuse. He commented that if the legislature isolates a single group of people, it opens the door for future legislation that may also be unconstitutional. 4:59:03 PM PAM GOODE said she supports SB 89, and that this bill is not about depriving students of sex education or reproductive education, this bill is about parental rights and keeping abortion providers out of the public schools. Specifically, she said, the discussion is about Planned Parenthood which is the organization "that just got busted" for selling aborted baby parts, and she said to Representative Tarr that those videos are not proven to be false, although people were indicted. Children know what Planned Parenthood does and they do far more than educate the children on the reproductive process. These organizations have no business having access to the children in Alaska's public schools. In the event a parent supports Planned Parenthood, they can access that organization on their own and with their own children, and she asked the committee to do the right thing and pass the bill out of committee. 5:01:15 PM CATHY GIRARD urged the committee to vote against SB 89. She related that in the 1970s she had a health class, but it wasn't until she was 12 years old that she realized how babies were made, but she didn't find out in health class. She said she didn't receive any sexual education from her mother until menstruation at age 12, which was far too late because her girlfriends and she were already comparing their nine year old bodies to the playboy magazines they pilfered from their fathers and brothers. She related that she grew up in an upper middle class family with two parents, which is atypical for today. Even coming from the "best of families," it does not guarantee medically accurate or age appropriate sexual education. By luck, she was able to make it through high school and college without getting pregnant, and because she received her college education has always been able to financially support herself. In her mind, SB 89 is a classic unconstitutional example of a conflict between church and state. If crisis pregnancy centers or Alaska Right to Life were the organization teaching sexual education in Alaska public schools, SB 89 and the ongoing anti- Planned Parenthood bill would never be in front of the committee as they have been most recently. She advised this is her third testimony against this bill and she is dumb-founded that the legislature is taking so much time to dicker over a bill that will basically strip sexual education at a time when the state's budget is in crisis. She asked the committee to remember that the educational services Planned Parenthood provides to schools are free and are not funded at taxpayer expense, and the cost of unplanned pregnancies, unwanted children, domestic violence, date rape, breast cancer, reproductive system cancers, and sexually transmitted infections don't only come with a personal cost, but a societal cost. She said to ask the 6,000 parents of the 3,000 children currently in foster care in Alaska. 5:03:41 PM ERIC GLATT, Attorney, American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska, said he is testifying in opposition to SB 89. He referred to Sections 3 and 5 of the bill which provides that Alaska students cannot receive high quality, age appropriate, medically accurate instruction in human sexual health if that instruction is delivered by a certain class of people. The class of people identified by the law bears no necessary relationship to the content of that instruction. As the bill sponsor, Senator Dunleavy noted before the committee last week, Sections 3 and 5 do not concern themselves with what is taught, but only with who is teaching. Namely, employees and volunteers of hospitals and clinic where abortion services are provided. When a bill takes such an unusual posture the logical question to ask is why, what legislative purpose is furthered by identifying who teaches in order to address what students learn. Answering that question speaks directly to several of the constitutional infirmities the ACLU has identified in the bill and submitted in written testimony last week, and several of these were also flagged by the Legislative Legal and Research Services. Section 3 and 5 of SB 89 have the appearance of an unconstitutional bill of attainder, may violate constitutional requirements of sustentative due process, may violate constitutional requirements of equal protection, and Section 5 risks unconstitutionally restricting the right to free speech and freedom of association. The ACLU also pointed out the great and avoidable expense Alaska has already incurred in defending similar unconstitutional laws. For these reasons, the ACLU urges the committee not to pass SB 89. 5:05:36 PM MR. GLATT noted that two lawyers testifying last week expressed different interpretations as to the constitutional infirmities the ACLU identified. Attorney Alisa Graves, based in Texas spoke on behalf of a group based in Arizona argued, on behalf of Alliance Defending Freedom, that when performing an equal protection analysis the courts would only require that the legislature have a rational basis for its classification system and the rational basis is considered a low bar to clear. Ms. Graves did not share with the committee that the United States Supreme Court has never found expressions of moral disapproval to be sufficient to clear the rational basis bar. REPRESENTATIVE SEATON asked Mr. Glatt to wrap up his testimony. 5:06:25 PM JAMES SQUYRES advised he is hopeful the committee members realize they are being manipulated by organized lobby efforts, and it is their duty to filter down to reality. He said he is in favor of SB 89, and suggested the members pass the bill out of committee. 5:07:03 PM DEENA MITCHELL noted there has been excellent testimony and did not want to be repetitive, but she definitely appreciated the focus on good sex education providing information on prevention, consent, and healthy relationships. Fortunately, she commented, her children, two girls and one boy, received comprehensive sex education through a program her church offers and many children do not have that opportunity. It is very important to teach children about sexuality and sensuality in an age appropriate manner, and that opting-in creates a ridiculous barrier for those children and parents currently have the right to opt-out. Her church offers sexuality education beginning with kindergarten, and it teaches children what is a safe touch and what is not. It is well known that comprehensive sex education helps to avoid sexual abuse, it delays sexual activity of which is the only thing proven to delay sexual activity, it prevents unplanned pregnancies, and consequently abortions. She related that the name, Planned Parenthood, says it all as it is about everyone having a planned experience with parenthood, and referred to the discussions around parental rights and opined that she is more focused on Alaskan children's rights. Her children are grown, and she said she feels confident they have the skills they need, know how to assert themselves, recognize a healthy relationship, and know how to approach it. Once our children get to junior high and high school, parents do not have parental control any longer. She then stressed that she appreciates Planned Parenthood and its curriculum, as well as the curriculum her church provides, which is comprehensive, age appropriate information for students so they are not in the dark, they can ask anonymous questions and receive medically accurate information. She asked the committee to oppose SB 89. 5:09:25 PM CAROL CARMEN said she supports SB 89, is a retired teacher who received training in health education, and assured the committee that for many years teachers have taught sex education. The claim that it is not being provided or that only an abortion provider can teach it properly is not true. The bill does not prevent teaching sex education in schools, it only affects who teaches it. She said she is especially concerned about Planned Parenthood's fourth grade curriculum as it is not age appropriate, and in all grade levels it is nothing less than porn and promotes promiscuity. She said she found it sensible that the committee would vote to prevent an abortion provider from teaching in Alaska's public schools due to the alarming obvious conflict of interest, and that allowing an abortion provider to teach sex to children and teens begets promiscuity, which begets unwanted pregnancies and venereal disease, and provides business to that abortion provider. 5:11:17 PM KAREN PERRY said she has been a certified Alaska teacher for 30 plus years and spoke in support of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States for all parents. She supports SB 89, and noted that she has listened to the testimonies and that "much of it is schizophrenic. This bill is not about STPs (sic) and etcetera -- it is not about the right of Planned Parenthood to be in our public schools." This bill is about parents exercising their First Amendment rights under the law of the land, and if the parent's religion believes that homosexuality and premarital sex is a sin, the schools have no right to teach children that those are normal and acceptable behaviors. If the committee does not pass this bill it is setting itself up for a multitude of lawsuits and she asked whether the committee wants to waste more state money fighting the lawsuits. Everyone has First Amendments rights and people do not need to have these rights usurped by the committee, Planned Parenthood, or any other entity. She stated that the [parents] should not have their children exposed to an agency whose main goal is to profit financially by destroying, burning, and ripping children apart from limb to limb for its own financial gain. Schools are required to have highly qualified certified teachers to provide instructions to students and they can do so capably. Also, if any program's fault is for parents to have an opt-in, the program should really be to not have to opt-out. Since tax payers pay for schools with tax dollars, schools cannot use it to teach against a religious belief, and requested that the committee pass the bill out of committee for a full vote of both bodies. 5:13:36 PM WILLIAM DEATON, Eighth Grade Student, Cordova Junior/Senior High School, said he supports SB 89, and is in favor of his parents' ability to opt him out of sex education. He said he is against Planned Parenthood being able to teach his family, friends or him about abortion and sex education because it is a clear conflict of interest. He presumed everyone knew what was going on this summer with the videos of Planned Parenthood selling fetus tissue and he argued to Representative Tarr that those videos were not proven wrong, although people were indicted. Planned Parenthood kills children when they are in the womb every day and it is sad to hear about that, he said. 5:14:58 PM TOM BRAUND said he supports SB 89 because parents have an absolute right to control who teaches their children and how, especially about moral sex education and values. Specifically, abortion providers and sex education companies have an agenda different from most parents he knows, they need to stay out of schools, and these companies should never be supported by public money. He advised that no one should assume that because a parent doesn't opt into something that it has authority to opt those children into those programs for them. Teaching any sex education in schools, especially in co-ed class, promotes sexual interest which leads to trouble, he said. 5:16:07 PM MARCI HAWKINS said she is from the other side of Sutton, "the ignored constituents from Senator Dunleavy's district." She stated she is opposed to SB 89, and that in Sutton parents are allowed to opt-in or opt-out as her sister just opted-out her niece. She pointed to an issue in the bill of taking control away from Alaska's school boards on the subject of curriculum, and if they are taking away this control who will decide what goes in. She further pointed out that if the state takes control away from Alaskan local elected officials, such as school boards, it need to provide that curriculum and how to pay for it. In the event a person does not like what the school district members are doing, vote them out of office. She described this bill as non-productive and certainly would like to see something next session that says the parents have the right to opt-in or opt-out, but the rest of the bill will be wasted money. She expressed, "Representative Tarr, you go girl." 5:18:14 PM GRETCHEN NELSON said she believes the legislature should be focusing on extremely important information and not less information for our young adults to live successful and healthy lives and make good decisions. As a parent of two young daughters, and a teacher with 30 plus experience in the Anchorage School District, she remarked that she has experienced firsthand the value of comprehensive medically accurate information regarding sexual assault and responsible reproductive health education. Her daughters were enrolled in one of the most important elective classes of their high school careers, entitled "Human Sexuality and Healthy Relationships," and on numerous occasions they have told her of the non- judgmental, unbiased medically accurate information on reproductive health and relationships they received in the class. The class was not on abortion as that is not part of the curriculum, and this committee is talking about accurate information which is important, not on abortion, she stressed. Accurate information has definitely led to less promiscuity, less abortions, less unplanned pregnancies in other countries, etcetera. She related that she is opposed to this bill prohibiting Planned Parenthood from providing the accurate information that she knows it provides, and studies show that comprehensive sex education is effective at reducing STDs and can delay sexual activity. As college students, she pointed out that she has been alarmed and scared for her daughters' safety with the high rate of assaults on college campuses, and the more information students have on sexual violence they will be more likely to make a report when it occurs and possibly avoid it at all costs. She asked that the committee oppose this bill. 5:20:27 PM PAUL D. KENDALL said he wanted to voice an opinion and not make a stand either way, and he has no conflict of interest either sexually or by monetary gain. He expressed concern that "we as men" have a lot of serious business coming at a very rapid escalating pace, and when he sees moments like this he becomes concerned. He asked the committee that from now on when it has moments like this he would like to see all the subjects that school teaches. He opined that the public needs to see what is being designed in the context of what the school district is doing, because it appears that "we are taking away the children's age of innocence. Not only that, but we are taking away accountability for the female who wants to breed at will and want or desire," as opposed to being responsible for her fundamental drive or will in our society and the universe, for that matter. Mr. Kendall continued as follows: So, what I'd like to see you men do, is I'd like to see you -- maybe you could leave Juneau -the land of meditation down there - and come back early and let the women herd up and give them some kind of instructions like the following: Number one, if you're going to breed at will and want, you're going to be responsible for whatever comes out - period. Number two, you're not going to continue to titillate our young males to a mere irresponsible state of mind and then have them divide and create all kinds of crimes, like domestic violence and violence of other men. The third thing is that I think the women are going to come back and tell us how we're going to handle the females who simply want to breed, breed, and breed and then try to encapsulate or capture a male into some role of ... providing them the substance under which they can get more and more financial support." MR. KENDALL said he is not proposing burkas or chastity belts... 5:22:46 PM CHAIR SEATON closed public testimony on SB 89. He noted that the committee received documents from Cordova, the Cordova School Board, Cordova school board members, Delta Greely School Board, and principals in other areas reporting on the responses they received within their districts, and all are opposed to the passage of SB 89. 5:23:38 PM REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ said the bill does not prohibit or ban the teaching of sex education, but it empowers parents to direct the education of their children. She depicted Planned Parenthood as though it has an automatic right to Alaska's children and an automatic right to teach sex education, and after reviewing its materials offered that there are troubling patterns. She referred to Planned Parenthood's website, within the educator's toolbox, it discusses abortion and the morning after pill in the teen-age section. She expressed shock in what she reviewed because the materials are culturally insensitive, insulting, and degrading to traditional cultures, the traditional Muslim cultures, Hispanic, Southeast Asian, and African cultures. She opined she was insulted and embarrassed because some of the material was graphic, it appears to condone premarital sex which is contradictory and insensitive to many cultures and religious groups. For example, she said the digital tools for teens are games and quiz "Starting to feel comfortable in your relationship - keep a good thing going worry free," and it goes into different types of contraceptives, and that tone of voice and wording leads her to believe that it encourages premarital sex and in some families and religions that is not appropriate. Included on the Planned Parenthood web site is "How to talk with your child about sexuality - A parent's guide," which will be embarrassing to herself and others because "according to this guy" within the ages of birth- two years the baby should be allowed to enjoy masturbation and it was normal to allow the child to masturbate within three-five years. A person can disagree whether it is correct or not, but it is totally insensitive to religious groups and many ethnic groups. Within the Planned Parenthood website "Filling the gap," she related that the site discusses abortion "and they have ele -- elementary school, I guess talking about abortion in elementary school and middle school and junior high school and high school." She advised she grew up in a different culture and sees this as an invitation to certain behaviors that are not acceptable to many Americans. 5:28:31 PM REPRESENTATIVE WOOL related that with respect to Vice Chair Vazquez' embarrassment, it is a common emotion especially when parents are dealing with sex education issues with their children. He referred to comments by a testifier who grew up in an upper middle class home with two parents that was better off financially than others, and he did not receive any sex education from his parents. This is not uncommon at all in that many have grown up in such environments where their parents or a single parent didn't talk about chlamydia or STDs, although when he was a kid they didn't have HIV, or internet sex. Sexual topics were not discussed, which doesn't mean it shouldn't be discussed and he related that he respects Vice Chair Vasquez' respect for other cultures because it is important. Other cultures do not want girls to go to school, and he asked whether that means there should be no discussion about girls going to school, or not talk about cultures that do not allow women to vote. There are other cultures with different values that are different than ours, and "we have our own culture" which is important to address. The issue of Planned Parenthood in schools, it sounds like there are 3.5 educators in the state, they are invited into the schools, parents can opt-out - this is not about parental rights because parents can opt-out. He related that there are many important facts kids need to learn and if the school curriculum had staff and was providing the education that would be great, but it sounds like the schools need help. According to testimony from the students, he related, it sounds like they appreciate getting some of this education from an outside person with their teacher in the room, but they do not want to ask their homeroom teacher about masturbation, as it might be embarrassing and if someone else comes in to teach it may make it easier. He referred to the testifier who commented on the availability of porn on the internet and that is an important issue especially, not only in the physical sexual relationships people are inquiring about, but also the emotional side of things. He related that what is seen on the internet is not accurate or healthy in either of those aspects, especially the emotional side. Curriculum about healthy relationships, consent, boundaries, and such are very important to learn and if kids are only seeing one side of it, they need the well-rounded side of a healthy relationship, when to say no, and what proper relationships are. REPRESENTATIVE WOOL said he thinks "getting good education to kids at different ages about different things" is good, and he said none of the testimony sounds like "abortion is being indoctrinated or promiscuity or any of these things." He offered that it sounds like more of an objection on other aspects of what Planned Parenthood does. According to the testimonies, the education and curriculum being provided in the schools by Planned Parenthood is well received by teachers, parents, students, and he reminded the members that parents can opt-out. 5:32:29 PM REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO offered that he supports the bill and that he was raised during a time where the certified teachers in the classroom absolutely had to do all of the curriculum all of the time, and he continues to support certified teachers delivering everything in the classrooms. There are always strong feelings on this particular subject and [society] will never get away from that, but he said he wants people to know he supports the bill. He related that it is tough for parents and he has two children, ages 37 and 39, the parent is the most important person in their child's life, and another person cannot be brought in and think they will replace the parent. The parent can be the most important and most influential person in their children's lives, and he offered that these are difficult conversations, but to bear down and have these difficult conversations. He related that the parent will feel better because he's been there and done it and it wasn't easy, but in his experience it has its rewards. Thankfully, he remarked, his spouse helped him find the courage to help him through it. Parents are incredibly influential in their child's life and if the parent believes something is important, their child will think it is important as well. He suggested to parents, whether the bill is advanced or not, to have those heart to heart important conversations with their children. He related that his son is mortified with the statistics in Alaska of sexual assault and abuse, and domestic violence because he remembers their conversations of how to treat the opposite sex, and that it was his job to protect the opposite sex. He offered his appreciation to the students who have testified because it is a sensitive subject. 5:36:55 PM REPRESENTATIVE TARR offered that she opposes this bill for several reasons, such that during the 20 years she has been in Alaska it has led the nation in rates of domestic violence and sexual assault and she does not want that to be true 20 years from now. She described these as issues that disproportionally impact women, although certainly men are affected by domestic violence and sexual assault, but as a woman it is a personal issue and it is time to remove the silence and discussed these issues and having these educational materials in the schools is a piece of that. Research demonstrates without question that sexuality education works and it can delay sexual activity, such that the national campaign to prevent unplanned teen-age pregnancy performed focus group research with teen-agers and asked them about their decision making related to sexual activity, and the teen-agers quoted from seeing reality shows, such as "Teen Mom," and "16 and Pregnant" that the shows informed them about the real hardships associated with teen-age pregnancy and made them rethink their actions. Information is out there and that kids will get information from different sources, and to the extent parents can have some influence over them getting good information it has been shown that this culturally appropriate, age appropriate, medically accurate, non-judgmental, unbiased information can help students in obtaining the information they need. It is important that more education is offered at a young age, she stressed, because within her 20 years of teaching college students regarding reproductive health, physiology and human anatomy, and within her numerous years of assisting in sponsoring healthy sexuality week at UAA, the questions that young adults are asking are alarming. The lack of information they have about their bodies and how their bodies work is alarming, they need serious biological information to make good, healthy decisions and understand what is going on in their bodies. She related that a health educator had an online question and answer service, and the two of them discussed the type of questions being asked of young adults on their own who could live with someone or be sexually active. Unfortunately, if they have not received education prior to college the chances of them making bad decisions or getting themselves into unsafe or uncomfortable situation is that much greater. Strikingly, she commented, discussion of the bill has been situated around the idea of parental rights, none of which are being infringed upon right now as every parent has the right to remove their student from any class they object to and apparently a number of parents are not taking advantage of that opportunity, if that is the real problem here. 5:40:48 PM REPRESENTATIVE TARR expressed confusion as to why there is tension here, why there are certain people who feel like giving students medically accurate, age appropriate information is somehow taking away from their role as a parent. She related that she advocates for a partnership with the family and the community, so that the anatomy and biological information the student gets at school is culturally appropriate, age appropriate, medically accurate, non-judgmental, unbiased, and then the students go home and talk to their parents about the information they received which is where the parent has the conversation about morality and how that information is applied in someone's life. She said she would hope that Alaskans would come together as a community and all talk about it more, and certainly if this was taking place Alaska would not continuously lead the nation in domestic violence, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, and STDs. People will hopefully, she related, come together as a community to build partnerships that include the information a student receives at school, coupled with the parental conversation about family values, cultural values, viewpoints, and how that information is applied. April is sexual assault and child abuse prevention month and she asked that people determine how to take that information and change the cultural norms around violence in Alaska. The statement that it is unconstitutional is an issue that should be considered, but from the public health perspective which is the focus of this committee, this does not do anything to advance its efforts on preventing some of these terrible health outcomes in Alaska. She advised she will be a no vote on the bill. 5:43:05 PM CHAIR SEATON stated that from the public health data the committee received, at least three to five to seven times more STDs occur outside of the areas this education is taking place, the Gulf Coast and Southeast Alaska. Therefore, he pointed out, as far as public health it appears when students live in areas that are not receiving the education it has not been as beneficial. The committee reviewed the data and the number of public health nurses providing some sex education, and within the last year nine public health nurse positions have been cut resulting in a reduction in that workforce. With regard to overriding local control for local school boards and exempting materials needed for public health where it had been decided locally to invite people in, the committee checked with school districts and Planned Parenthood educators, who advised the teacher is always in the room, and he related that he wants to be certain the members understand that the certified teacher is always in the room. There is information on the web, and committee investigated some National Planned Parenthood data that is not being used in Alaskan schools, he advised. Not only that, he said, the data is selected by the school board, principal, and the teachers of what lessons would be taught. People, on their own time doing something else, cannot be in a public school according to the bill and, he related, it is problematic because freedom of speech and freedom of association are broadly implicated, and he is not supporting this bill. 5:45:53 PM REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ moved to report [CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 89(RLS) am(efd add)] out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes. REPRESENTATIVE TARR objected. 5:46:09 PM A roll call vote was taken. Representatives Vazquez and Talerico voted in favor of the motion to move CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 89(RLS) am(efd add) out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes. Representatives Stutes, Wool, Tarr, Foster, and Seaton voted against it. Therefore, CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 89(RLS) am(efd add) failed to pass from the House Health, Education and Social Services Standing Committee by a vote of 2-5. CHAIR SEATON thanked the committee and testifiers, and he especially thanked the students who took their time to testify. He specified that whether members agreed with their testimonies or not, the students are actively engaged in civics and the committee appreciates their perspective.