Q Notes (Charlotte) (04.10.13)
A coalition of nonprofit organizations has proposed a bill to revamp South Carolina’s 20-year-old comprehensive sex education law. The proposed changes would require “medically accurate and factual” sexual health education and mandate health education certification for teachers. Furthermore, the bill stipulates that sexual health classes may present only information validated by peer-reviewed research or “mainstream” medical and health organizations. The new bill would also require the “abstinence plus” model that emphasizes abstinence until marriage and provides age-appropriate safer sex techniques, such as condom use.
The bill’s supporters stated that the update is necessary because the science has changed in the last 25 years, and South Carolina has high rates of teen STD infection and pregnancy. Coalition proponents include Tell Them SC; The New Morning Foundation; and South Carolina Equality, a statewide LGBT advocacy organization.
Those who favor the current, 20-year-old law object to moving away from an abstinence-based curriculum. Another set of opponents believe that the proposed South Carolina legislation is too similar to a Tennessee statute described as the “Don’t say gay” bill, which would prohibit all mention of LGBT topics and require “outing” gay students to parents. South Carolina Equality Executive Director Ryan Wilson noted that the proposed changes leave in place current law forbidding discussion of LGBT relationships. The new bill would allow discussion of same-sex relationships only within the context of STD transmission so that LGBT students have access to factual information.