Associated Press (11.03.11) - Thursday, November 03, 2011
Late Wednesday, the state Senate approved a measure mandating
that school districts choosing to teach sex education
emphasize abstinence as the only reliable way to prevent STDs
and pregnancy. The decision on whether to teach contraception
would be left to the districts.
The Republican-backed bill essentially rewrites a Democratic-
supported law, the Healthy Youth Act, which passed two years
ago. It requires that schools offering sex education include
proper contraceptive use as part of their curriculum.
Wednesday's vote of 17-15 fell along party lines.
"This is about local control," said Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New
Berlin), the bill's author. Rather than being required to
teach contraception, districts would have the option to forgo
any lessons about the topic, she said.
Democrats are critical of the measure, viewing it as an
attempt to force conservative ideology on the state's schools.
"To pretend [children aren't having sex] is absolutely
foolish," said Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton). "You'd think
we'd want to get out in front of this and make sure they learn
properly there are consequences to their choices."
The bill now goes to the Wisconsin Assembly. It is not known
whether it will be considered this year, since Thursday is the
last scheduled floor session until lawmakers reconvene in
January. Though it is not on the Assembly calendar for
Thursday, Republican leaders could take it up anyway.