Analysis Sexual Health

Las Vegas Review Journal’s Column Falsely Quotes Legislators to Mock Sex Ed Bill

Media Matters

Las Vegas Review Journal contributor Sherman Frederick penned a column claiming that state legislators are pushing a new bill seeking to bolster sex education in Nevada because they believe "Nevada girls are easy."

Las Vegas Review Journal contributor Sherman Frederick penned a column claiming that state legislators are pushing a new bill seeking to bolster sex education in Nevada because they believe “Nevada girls are easy.”

After discussing one Hispanic legislator’s support of comprehensive sex education, which Frederick assumes is just teaching students “how to put a Ziploc bag over a cucumber,” Frederick determines that the argument the legislator is making is that Hispanic girls are “really, really easy”:

As easy as Nevada girls are, you see, Nevada’s Hispanic girls are really, really easy. That comes from the mouth of Sen. Ruben Kihuen, D-Las Vegas. According to him, that’s because Hispanic parents never talk to their children about sex. So government must do it.

Lest you think I am making this up, take a look at this excerpt from the Reno Gazette-Journal’s Ray Hagar, who interviewed Kihuen about AB230, and Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, D-Las Vegas, who testified in favor of the bill and revealed that she got pregnant as a teen and had it aborted.

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Instead, we have AB230. Social conservatives on one side. Liberals on the other. And wanna-be leaders unwittingly (I hope) contending that not only are Nevada girls easy, Nevada’s Hispanic girls are really, really easy.

Frederick claimed that the “Nevada girls are easy” quote comes from a news report by Reno Gazette-Journal‘s Ray Hager. However, Hager said in a tweet “That’s Sherm’s quote. I, or anyone I’ve quoted, did not say that”:

In fact, the only person who ever brought up the sexual habits of teenage girls is Frederick as he admits: (click to enlarge)

Had Frederick actually cited a legislator who supported the bill, his column may have included revealing statistics about the state’s sexual education programs and teen pregnancy. The bill’s primary sponsor, Assemblyman David Bobzien (D-Reno), has explained that the bill is about “giving our students the facts – giving them the medically accurate information they need” with the hope of reducing Nevada’s teen pregnancy rate, which is the fourth-highest in the country.

As Vicki Cowart, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southern Nevada, explained in an op-ed in the Las Vegas Sun, the bill will allow much needed updates to the sexual education curriculum to include “age-appropriate” and “culturally sensitive” sexual education:

Sex education is required in Nevada schools, but the curriculum is outdated and failing to meet the needs of our state’s youths.


AB230 will specifically define core components that must be included in sexual health curricula. For example, the term “comprehensive” will be fully defined as “age-appropriate” and “culturally sensitive.” The latter will ensure that sexual health information that denigrates gay and transgender youths, as well as religious youths, will not be permitted. AB230 maintains local control for school districts and counties to make decisions about the curriculum and all materials that are used in the classroom. Parents maintain the ability to opt their student out of sex education (with no penalty) if they teach sex ed at home. Parental involvement is a key component of this bill and is an essential part of any good comprehensive sexual education program.

A report by ThinkProgress, which highlighted data from the Guttmacher Institute, noted this connection between poor sexual education and high teen birth rates in states.

The Guttmacher Institute found that studies show that comprehensive approaches to sex education (which they define as teaching both abstinence and the use of condoms and contraceptives) aided teens against the pressures of having sex too soon as well as contributing to “delayed or reduced sexual activity, reduced the number of sexual partners, or increased the use of condoms or other contraceptives.”  This finding is in stark contrast to studies on abstinence-only education, which found that abstinence-only programs had no effect on delaying teen sexual activity and may actually “deter contraceptive use among sexually active teens, increasing their risk of unintended pregnancy and STIs.”

Moreover, comprehensive sexual education has the support of many leading public health and medical professional organizations, including the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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