Keeping the Sex in Sex Education: The First Amendment's Religion Clauses and the Sex Education Debate
Southern California Review of Law & Women's Studies, Vol. 9, No. 2, Spring 2000
33 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2001
The two dominant approaches to sex education today are "comprehensive" and "abstinence-only-until-marriage." After describing the two approaches in some detail, this article explores the implications of the First Amendment's Religion Clauses for both approaches.
School districts regularly allow parents to opt out of comprehensive sex education on their children's behalf. To the extent, however, that legislatures and school boards are operating on the assumption that such an opt-out is required by the Free Exercise Clause, this article argues that they are mistaken.
The debate on comprehensive versus abstinence-only sex education has been cast thus far in policy rather than constitutional terms. This article maintains, however, that abstinence-only programs present difficulties under the Establishment Clause that should be found to bar their adoption as a matter of constitutional law.
Note: This is a description of the paper and not the actual abstract.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation