News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

After the abortion ban, this North Texas student says sex ed is even more important

Simran, a student, stands in front of a white backdrop.
Simran Misra
/
"As a child of Asian immigrants, it was already that much more taboo, where we don't talk about relationships," said Simran Misra, who's in her first semester of college at SMU. "Having conversations about sex ed is that much more difficult."

Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade this summer, it’s put a spotlight on pregnancy prevention efforts, like sex education.

“I think it’s so easy to be unsafe about sex,” Misra said. “It’s so much more important that we have good sex ed.

This year’s curriculum for Texas middle school students includes information about contraception for the first time, alongside abstinence education. There is also information about healthy relationships, mental health and sexually transmitted infections.

But since the state adopted a new opt-in policy for caregivers, not every student will get this information. Recent Plano West Senior High School graduate Simran Misra remembers sex education from fifth grade, where she learned about menstruation.

“They split us up into boys and girls, and took us into a little room and turned a projector on,” Misra said. “That was the last time I remember even discussing sex ed in depth. I took biology, and we discussed the reproductive system, but never really how to be safe about having sex, or having sex for fun.”

Misra says sex education is “something that’s necessary for kids not to be afraid of their own bodies.” She also wants sex education to be about more than just how to prevent pregnancy.

“It doesn’t just have to be the physical aspect,” Misra said. “It can also be emotional boundaries or how to navigate your relationships. There’s a lot of emotional and physical growth that comes along with comprehensive sex education.”

Growing up, she had conversations with her mom, who is a health care worker, about sex education. She says it’s important for parents to make space to have these conversations with their kids.

“Make it so your children don’t feel judged when they’re coming to you, no matter what they want to talk about,” Misra said. “If they can’t come to you, who else are they going to go to?”

Regardless of political affiliation, she thinks students need to understand how abortion legislation affects them.

“A lot of people are just unaware of how an abortion works, or what it entails,” Misra said. “I did not know until maybe earlier this year.”

Without widespread abortion access in Texas, Misra says sex education becomes that much more important to prevent teen pregnancy. According to the latest date from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Texas has the ninth highest teen birth rate in the nation.

“I think it’s so easy to be unsafe about sex,” Misra said. “It’s so much more important that we have good sex ed.”

Got a tip? Email Elena Rivera at erivera@kera.org. You can follow Elena on Twitter @elenaiswriting.

KERA News is made possible through the generosity of our members. If you find this reporting valuable, consider making a tax-deductible gift today. Thank you.

Elena Rivera is the health reporter at KERA. Before moving to Dallas, Elena covered health in Southern Colorado for KRCC and Colorado Public Radio. Her stories covered pandemic mental health support, rural community health access issues and vaccine equity across the region.