An Illinois bill promoting birth control over abstinence-only education in sex ed classes passed in the Senate on Wednesday with a 37-21 vote.
Under current law, all sex education curriculum for grades 6 through 12 must be medically accurate and age appropriate. Now, the state Board of Education must also resource materials suggested by experts or other sex education groups. Lectures must include talk about condoms, IUDs and the pill.
"In order to follow state law,” Republican Sen. Dale Righter, said, “they're going to have to talk about contraception."
School districts will also have the option to abstain from teaching any sex education program, and allow parents to opt out their children with no penalty.
President and CEO of Planned Parenthood, Carole Brite, said the bill is a huge step in advancing the health and safety of young people.
Republican Sen. Michael Connelly argued that local officials should not determine how human sex is taught – the job should belong to parents. He threatened to remove any school board member who disagreed.
"I have a cellphone in my pocket,” Connelly said. “If the Naperville school board members are going to be educating our kids in a way that I think is inappropriate, I call them or I have them removed in the next election.”
Republican Sen. Lyle McCarter voiced his concern that young people may not feel as encouraged to abstain until marriage now. He argued that the bill would change the culture, as well as the law.