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Illinois: Abstinence and Birth Control in Sex Education Class?

February 23, 2012

A bill recently proposed in the Illinois General Assembly would require sex education courses in grades six through 12 to include instruction on both abstinence and contraceptive methods for preventing STDs and unwanted pregnancy. Currently, sex education must be abstinence-based, and districts can decide whether or not to include instruction on contraception. HB 3027, Senate Amendment 1, also would define what materials and curricula are acceptable.

Supporters say the measure would ensure students are learning all methods for preventing STDs and unwanted pregnancy. However, critics say it would weaken the message of abstinence. The Senate passed the bill in a 30-28 vote, and it has been placed on the House calendar for possible consideration this spring.

Schools that choose to offer sex education, which is not a state-mandated course, can select a curriculum that suits their community's needs, so long as it is supported by recognized research and age-appropriate, said Rep. Camille Lilly (D-Chicago), the bill's sponsor.

"We want to make it clear to those who are providing information that it needs to be medically accurate, age-appropriate, and complete," Lilly said. For instance, some students are given false statistics on the efficacy of contraceptive methods, she said.

"What one community thinks is age-appropriate, another may not," said Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palatine). "That's a decision that is best left up to local school boards, rather than a one-size-fits-all mandate handed down from Springfield."

A 2008 survey found two-thirds of Illinois public schools provided comprehensive sex education, and 93 percent offered some form of sex education.

Back to other news for February 2012

Adapted from:
Chicago Daily Herald
02.19.12; Larissa Chinwah

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
Quiz: Are You at Risk for HIV?
10 Common Fears About HIV Transmission
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