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O’Day: Shifting landscape may finally lift Massachusetts sex ed bill



Sam Drysdale

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, MAY 30, 2023…..Over the past decade, the Senate has passed a bill that would remodel what sex education looks like in Massachusetts on four occasions — but House Democrats have never taken it up.

With a new governor who may be more amenable to the measure and LGBTQ+ rights challenged in states across the country, the bill’s House sponsors think the timing might be right this session for the bill to make it through their chamber.

“I’ve been trying to have this bill passed now for 10 years and certainly I think given what has transpired over the last year and a half or two years across the country, I’m hopeful that my colleagues will also agree with me that the urgency is probably a little more important today — I mean, it’s always been important — that it’s a little more heightened today,” said Rep. Jim O’Day, who cosponsors the House bill alongside Rep. Vanna Howard.

Howard said her son did not receive any sex education in the Lowell public system during his four years of high school.

“He had to learn, and he could ask us, but what teenagers want to talk about that with their mom or dad or legal guardians? Right? So what do they do? They go on the internet, where they get information that is not accurate,” she said. “This is why they need a comprehensive education program in their school, where they can learn correctly from the school — that is what the school is for.”

The bill (H 544 / S 268) would create curriculum guidelines for sex education for public school districts and charter schools that opt in to teaching sex ed. It requires that districts that teach the subject go over human anatomy; how to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, AIDS and unwanted pregnancy; effective use of contraceptives; how to safely discuss sexual activity in a relationship; skills to identify and prevent sexual violence and relationship violence; and age-appropriate and affirming education on gender identity and sexual orientation

O’Day said he believes that having Gov. Maura Healey as the state’s new executive will help his case with House Speaker Ron Mariano’s office.

Healey has often framed herself as a champion for reproductive and LGBTQ+ rights.

“I think we have a governor presently, who I think would look upon this bill favorably, maybe even a little more favorably than the former governor,” O’Day said. “So if I don’t have a governor that’s going to veto this, then I only need 81 votes and not 107. So that’s a little easier for me to peddle to the Speaker’s office saying, ‘Hey, we only need 81 now, because I believe that the governor will support this bill.'”

A new analysis by Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, which hosted an advocacy day for the bill at the State House on Tuesday, says Massachusetts’ sex education curriculum is in the company of states such as Missouri, Nebraska and South Dakota — which have lower scores on measures of LGBTQ+ and reproductive rights.

The analysis created a “sex ed policy score” for each of the 50 states and D.C. on a scale of -5 to 4. States gained a point for being medically accurate, covering birth control options, including LGBTQ+ sex education, and affirming abortion. The analysis took away a point if the state’s curriculum stressed abstinence, is discriminatory against LGBTQ+ people, prohibits abortion, emphasizes heterosexual marriage, or requires parents to opt their children into the subject.

Massachusetts scored a “neutral” 0 score alongside Alaska, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, South Dakota, Virginia and Wyoming. The analysis compared these “sex ed policy scores” to each state’s policies on abortion and reproductive rights.

Massachusetts is one of four states that were listed as “protective of abortion rights” to score below a 1 on sex education policy.

“While there are plenty of states that scored lower than MA, with -5 being the lowest possible score, there are 14 states plus D.C. that scored higher… including Iowa, which has some of the most restrictive laws on the books for abortion, LGBTQ+ rights, and critical race theory,” said PPLM Vice President of Education Jennifer Hart.

The House bill has 65 sponsors, though it has had at least 40 sponsors in past sessions.

“I’m tired of talking to all of you, telling you how important this bill is, and not being able to get this done,” Sen. Sal DiDomenico, who sponsored the Senate’s version of the bill, told advocates on Tuesday.

The bills were referred in February to the Joint Committee on Education, which has held one public hearing on bills this year.



  1. Fed Up

    May 30, 2023 at 3:40 pm

    Yes lets teach our children boys can be girls and vice versa and that’s biological sex isn’t a thing and neither is sexual dimorphism. Indoctrination at it’s finest.

  2. Antifa

    May 31, 2023 at 6:50 pm

    So the opinion of somebody who’s been indoctrinated by Christianity from birth and could never think on their own.

    You like your freedom as a straight person. So how about you respect theirs?

    So what research have the priest, nuns and ministers done or are they just basing all their science out of the man written Bible?

    I’m sure you’re so stuck in your ways that you don’t want to be better informed but I’ll put this link for everybody else Who appreciates knowledge. Does it hurt to be a hater??? Do you think you’re smarter than doctors and scientist?

    Do you think you’re so weak minded that if you’re exposed to homosexuality when you’re a child that you would have became one even with the possible hate from people just like you??? Probably not if you weren’t one but you probably would have if you were.

    • MortisMaximus

      June 1, 2023 at 2:01 pm

      How dare Christians believe in free will. Ken is the creator of man and woman. It is through Ken’s intelligent design that ignorant opinion can create 200+ genders. If you believe in science as Ken states then you would know there are but just 2 genders. Man and Woman= Womb+Man. Since life can now be created in a test tube, Ignorant people like Ken believe that men are now God’s. Ken is mentally ill and full of hate.

      • Antifa

        June 2, 2023 at 7:57 am

        Hey clown who’s Ken? So you’re uneducated opinion is science? You’re ignorance knows no bounds.

        Be glad you weren’t born gay or lesbian because of people like you you’re probably would have offed yourself by now!

        So have you always been a hater? You definitely would have been a follower of Hitler in Nazi Germany because he hated the all the same things you hate.

        So are you afraid you’re going to turn gay if you’re exposed to it? You got suckered into fascism so I’m sure you’re easily manipulated. Do you suffer from fearing everything you don’t understand? You seem to be afraid of anything you don’t understand.

        Were you indoctrinated at birth by religion? Never questioned it just believed like a sucker? Again you’re just a good example of Dunning-Kruger!

        Try reading. It’s the cure for total ignorance.

  3. MortisMaximus

    June 2, 2023 at 3:47 pm

    Reading with zero discernment for reality must be your specialty. First you say born gay, then you say turn gay. I care not of anyone’s sexuality, live and let live. Your hyperbole is the exact opposite of intelligence, your fear of reality is markedly apparent. Stop talking about your indoctrination, it has nothing to do with education. You speak of Hitler constantly talking of you fantasizing about you sucking his anu$. Say something intelligent for once, PLEASE! You are out of your league with me. The lame moniker antifa says everything we need to know about you. It says that if you and your group of incels don’t get your way, you are willing to burn down the system. This is typical fascist behavior. Funny part is that you believe you have a place in the hierarchy of the Antifascist delusionoids. You are a nobody. You are a true satanic bootlicker! Thank God that America is a true Republic no matter how many times you and your mentally ill acolytes call it a demonocracy! Remember that anyone that takes a position in the Republic swears an oath to protect it. Now move along and play with the other braindead NPC’s who want to play dress up and block traffic to save the “democracy from the imaginary white supremacists that the Biden/Obama regime have imagined exist “everywhere” you turn your empty head. LOSER!

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