On Tuesday, the Illinois State Senate voted against a measure to ensure that sex-education in its school districts was “medically accurate and ‘age-appropriate’.” You might think those were two easily agreed-upon criteria and you would be wrong.
“Who determines what’s age-appropriate? The legislature? Let them (local school districts) decide what’s age-appropriate. Let them decide what’s medically accurate. They don’t need our help.” – Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon)
Maybe State Senator McCarter can make a case for subjectivity on “age-appropriateness,” but “Let them decide what’s medically accurate” strikes me as the worst advice of all time. Condoms, when used correctly, reduce the likelihood of STD transmission and pregnancy. That’s medically accurate. About half of high school students in Illinois will cop to having sexual intercourse. That’s not medical, per se, but it’s accurate.
Currently each school district makes its own decisions about how sex education is taught, but this provision stresses abstinence as the only sure way to avoid pregnancy and STDs, but includes some content on condom use and safe sex. Oooh, scandalous!
Black and Hispanic teens in Illinois are three times more likely to get get pregnant than their white peers. Ensuring that all Illinois teens who receive sex education receive medically accurate information would be a step in the right direction.
“I want to submit to everybody in this room, if you are going to press that button, and it says no, you want to put that red light on, I just have one question: did you abstain until you were married? Because if you did not, and you press that button, that is the epitome of hypocrisy.” – Linda Holmes (D-Aurora)
Thank you, Senator Holmes, for reminding all of Illinois’ State Senators of their wayward pasts. How I wish she’d called out Senator McCarter.
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Related Post: A road map for understanding why conservatives have such a hard time with sex education.