Here’s a bit of refreshing news. The Illinois legislature has passed a law forbidding the teaching of abstinence-only sex education in public schools. Under the new law, if a school offers sex education it must include information about contraception. The governor is expected to sign it.
Illinois public schools that teach sex education will be required to provide information about birth control under a measure the Senate sent to Gov. Pat Quinn on Wednesday.
The legislation is a change from current policy, where abstinence is the only requirement for schools with sex ed classes. The measure was approved on a 37-21 vote and needed 30 to pass.
Supporters argue that abstinence-only education is not effective and students should be taught about other methods of birth control and protection against sexually transmitted diseases. Opponents contend abstinence-only education should remain the norm in schools, saying parents should decide how to educate their kids about sex.
Sponsoring Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, said the measure still would require schools to teach that abstinence is the only way to prevent pregnancy and disease, while at the same time allowing “students to make healthy decisions for themselves.”
This doesn’t ban teaching about abstinence as the only totally effective means of preventing pregnancy and STDs, nor should it. It requires comprehensive sex education that teaches both abstinence and contraception.