Washington State Lawmakers Debate Expanding Sex Ed: Plan Would Ban Abstinence-Only Approach
February 20, 2007
Washington's state Senate is debating a proposal to require "medically and scientifically accurate" sex education in schools that choose to offer the subject. The bill would ban abstinence-only teaching in favor of a comprehensive curriculum that would include abstinence. Parents would be able to request their children not take the classes.
Proponents of the bill said parents often have difficulty in talking to their children about sex, and may not have adequate knowledge. Yet teen pregnancy and STD rates suggest that students need accurate, comprehensive information.
Opponents predicted a voter backlash if the state alters the current system, which allows school districts to teach sex education as they see fit. Current state law mandates that public schools teach fifth graders and older children about HIV/AIDS and its prevention on an annual basis.
The Rev. Dennis Magnuson said many children get only partial information about sex. "The issue here isn't one of morality," he noted. "It's a public health issue." Magnuson supports a curriculum that teaches both abstinence and comprehensive sex education, citing the ABC formula: A for abstinence, B for being faithful, and C for condoms.
02.15.07; Richard Roesler
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.