Despite the fact Texas has the third largest rate of HIV infection in the country, Texas House Republicans have voted to give funds targeted for HIV screening to abstinence only education.
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Texas State Rep. Stuart Spitzer, (that's him in the photo above, posing with Ted Cruz, who he calls "my favorite senator,") made no secret of his intentions when he introduced a budget amendment that would take millions targeted for HIV and STD screening and give it to abstinence only (non)-education programs. He said it very plainly:
"(My) goal is for everybody to be abstinent until they’re married."
Democratic State Rep. Sylvester Turner, who opposed Rep. Spitzer's plan shot back:
"My goal is for everybody to be HIV/AIDS free."
Things went rapidly downhill from there, according to the Texas Observer.
The floor debate was contentious and at times very personal. At one point, Democrat Harold Dutton asked Rep. Spitzer if he had any experience with abstinence.
"I’ve had sex with one woman, and that’s my wife," said Spitzer, who volunteered that he was a virgin when he married - at age 29.
Rep. Dutton then asked Rep. Spitzer if that had been completely his own choice, sending the Texas House chamber into an uproar.
The debate however, was not all frivolous. Democrats accused Rep. Spitzer, who is a medical doctor, of not understanding the ways STDs are spread, after he claimed you couldn't get one if you didn't have sexual intercourse.
"If you think you can’t get an STD without having sex, maybe we need to educate you on how to get STDs," retorted Democratic Rep. Nicole Collier, to which Rep. Spitzer replied "You can, but it’s awful hard through your clothes."
When forced to face the inconvenient fact that Texas has the third-highest number of HIV cases in the country, and the third highest rate of teen pregnancy, Rep.Spitzer admitted that Texas’ abstinence education program "may not be working well," but said the HIV/STD prevention program received a lot more money than the abstinence only program receives, so it could afford to give some of it up.
"Does it bother you to know there are people walking around with HIV, undiagnosed?” Asked Rep. Dutton.
But apparently Republicans do not. The vote on Rep. Spitzer's amendment was 97 aye votes and 47 nays on a largely party-line vote.
After robbing from HIV and STD prevention programs to pay to keep Texas teens ignorant, the Texas House then went on to ban Planned Parenthood and other "abortion affiliates" from providing sex education materials in schools.
Photo via Facebook