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liability” law warns parents that the state will not support their childrens’ children if they themselves are capable of doing so. Both pro-life and pro-choice factions also convinced each other to recommend bits of the opposition’s agenda. The committee decided to ban late-term abortions, for example, a measure prolife advocates had tried unsuccessfully to pass for more than a decade. The committee rejected a proposal to require parental consent for abortions on minors, but approved a measure that requires clinic workers to encourage teens to tell their parents unless they have a good reason to keep quiet. Every woman who considers abortion must also be told that she has options, that state agencies may be able to provide adoption services or to help her support the expected child. Both sides in Wisconsin claim progress. Not victory, maybe, but, after years of stalemate, progress. “Of course I would have preferred enacting the entire pro-choice agenda without negotiating,” said Judith Selle, who represented Planned Parenthood on the special committee. “But they bought into prevention, and we bought into limiting abortion in some circumstances. We did move forward to reduce the incidence of abortion.” Some Wisconsin pro-lifers fear that the act, especially the grandparents’ liability provision, may prevent more births than abortions. But Barbara Lyons, legislative director of Wisconsin Citizens Concerned for Life, agreed that “progress was made in that both sides were willing to look at the entire realm of issues in perhaps a little bit of a different perspective.” “What we did,” said committee member Robert Hintz, director of the Catholic Diocese of Madison, “was demonstrate the ability of opposing forces to work together rather than cut each other up.” S O FAR, in Texas, we’re content with cutting each other up. Bill Price, director of the Texas Coalition for Life, a statewide consortium of pro-life groups, says he desperately wants to pass a law, like Wisconsin’s, to ban the less than one percent of all abortions that occur after fetal viability. Pam Fridrich, executive director of the Texas Abortion Rights Action League, argues that we don’t need such a law because late-term abortions don’t happen here, except for reasons of medical necessity. Then there’s sex education. Numerous reports, including one submitted to the Texas Legislature in 1982 by its own Select Committee on Teenage Pregnancy, have strongly urged the state to require sex education. Why? Nearly one-tenth of all the American teenagers who annually become mothers live in Texas. Almost 47,000 Texas teens gave birth in 1984, the Texas Department of Health reports, and 3,704 of those girls were 15 or younger. The birthrate has dropped among girls 15 to 19, but the birthrate among Texas girls under 15 is rising. The Texas Family Planning Association estimated in 1983 that 13,000 Texas girls were living on welfare because they had to support a baby. But sex education remains “politically impossible.” “Personally, it wouldn’t bother me, but there are some groups who think it might lead to promiscuity,” said state Rep. L.B. Kubiak, author of last session’s omnibus abortion bill. Sex in the Classroom WHAT DO STUDENTS learn about sex in Texas classrooms? Judging from high school health texts, probably not much. The Texas Education Agency dards for all public schools, doesn’t keep track of who’s teaching what about sex because sex education is not part of TEA’s “essential elements.” Schools, however, are required to use TEA-authorized textbooks. Of the five texts approved in 1984 for use in ninth through twelfth grade health classes, three do not list the word “reproduction” in their indexes. One of these three, Holt Rinehart Winston’s Modern Health, does mention the word “uterus,” but only in the context of uterine cancer. At 104,976 copies sold, Modern Health is the most popular high school health text in the state. Two of the books do discuss reproduction. One, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich’s Your Health and Safety for Better Living, covers the subject in a cursory page-and-a-half with one highlights the placenta. This book’s most explicit reference to teenage sexual activity is the statement: ” ‘Going steady’ can easily lead to an emotional involvement you may not be mature enough to handle.” The book also discusses a hypothetical high school couple who get married, for no apparent reason, and then divorce. “In Howard and Linda’s marriage,. there were no children, but you can see how children could complicate matters further,” the book helpfully Rotes. Only one TEA-approved text dares to be relevant. McGraw-Hill’s Health and Safety for You devotes an entire chapter to reproduction, including several full-color illustrations depicting male and female reproductive systems, the process of fertilization, and the birth cycle. The book describes the early signs of pregnancy and goes on to advise: “When a menstrual period is two weeks late, a woman should have a pregnancy test. . . . Someone who is not sure about the cost of the test or where it is available can telephone the local public health department. Information is also available from ‘hotlines.’ And most communities have set up centers that give special, and often free, health services.” Under the heading “Special problems,” Health and Safety for You confronts students with this cold blast of reality: “Bob,” 17, and “Sue,” 15, have been dating for a year when Sue tells Bob she is pregnant. “Bob said that he wasn’t ready to ‘settle down and get married.’ Bob also stated that he would try to help, but that he was ‘not going to pay for one mistake for the rest of my life.’ ” Unable to face her parents, Sue runs young people faced with an unwanted pregnancy, she was too desperate to think clearly about the situation,” the book says, adding that running away only creates more problems and that parents are often more understanding than one would expect. This book is also the only one of the five that mentions either contraception or abortion. Health and Safety for You is the second most popular text in the state, having sold 94,348 copies. Overall, of 238,604 secondary health , texts sold statewide, 102,033 discuss reproduction at least briefly; but 136,571 never acknowledge that sex exists. L.M. 10 MAY 30, 1986