Sex education bill in Assembly - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Sex education bill in Assembly


MADISON (WKOW) -- When a group of students from Calumet County toured the Capitol, it came on a day when lawmakers considered changing what they're taught in school.

Right now, school districts that choose to teach sex education are required to emphasize abstinence.  AB 458 stresses that whatever is taught must be medically accurate, and that contraception be part of the curriculum.

Milwaukee Representative Tamara Grigsby (D) sponsored what has been dubbed the Healthy Youth Act.  The bill's language said information must be supported by the weight of scientific research. 

A procedural move by Assembly Republicans late Tuesday meant a final chamber vote on the issue will likely be delayed until Thursday.

Many of the students from Stockbridge High School on Tuesday said they felt a change in sex education, however, is needed change.

"If you teach one, you should teach the other, so kids know about both sides," said senior Alex Martin.

"Sex is all over the media and the Internet, so it's not like we don't know about it," said fellow senior Ali Zahringer.  "Abstinence isn't truthful to our age group."

While statewide teachers group WEAC supports the bill, the Wisconsin Family Council opposes is. 

WFC's Julaine Appling believes teaching contraception could promote promiscuity.  "This takes away from school districts the option of having an abstinence-centric program," said Appling. 

More importantly, Appling believes districts should not be put in an all or none situation.  "In fact, West Allis has a two-track program.  They have a comprehensive sex ed program over here, and then an abstinence-centered program.  It's a great idea.  I wish every school district would do it."

A staffer from Rep. Grigsby's office said the bill was introduced after recent state health department data showed a rise in teen pregnancy and sexually-transmitted diseases from 2004 to 2008 for those between 15 and 19 years old.

The bill does allow districts to opt out of teaching sexual education.  Parents can also opt their kids out.

The Assembly debated AB 458 Tuesday evening.  More than half a dozen amendments were debated.  Even if the bill passes, the state Senate must approve it as well.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A bill in the state Assembly today would force schools who teach sex education to include the use of birth control.

The bill also includes teach health benefits, side effects and proper use of all contraceptives as well as other ways to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

Parents will also have the right to view the class details before deciding if their child will participate in the class.

The Wisconsin Catholic Conference opposes the bill, while groups such as Planned Parenthood and health departments support it.

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