Post and Courier (Charleston) (02.25.2014)
The Post and Courier reported that a tie vote in an eight-member subcommittee of the South Carolina legislature made it unlikely that a bill proposing to update the state’s 26-year-old sex education law would reach the floor during the 2014 legislative session. Rep. Jenny Horne (R-Summerville) and Rep. B.R. Skelton (R-Six Mile) originally introduced the bill during the 2013 legislative session. Their bill emphasized abstinence, but did not limit discussion of contraceptives to “future family planning.”
Subcommittee Chair Rep. Andy Patrick (R-Beaufort) introduced an amendment that would require students to receive medically accurate information on teen pregnancy prevention and STDs. The measure also would require certification for sex education teachers. The Tell Them advocacy network and the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy supported the amended version. Patrick also pushed through a vote on the amended bill.
Opponents of the proposed amendments included Rep. Joshua Putnam (R-Anderson), who believed that teenagers would think sex had no consequences if sex education courses emphasized condom use. Putnam also believed local school districts should determine the content of sex education courses.
Rep. Robert Brown (D-Charleston), speaking on behalf of the amended bill, agreed that sex education should emphasize abstinence, but voiced concern about rising STD incidence. He urged that all South Carolina students receive the same sex education course content.
The full education committee could request debate on the bill, but was unlikely to do so before the end of the 2014 legislative session.