Chicago Daily Herald (02.19.12) - Thursday, 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.