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Monday February 1, 2010

Wisconsin Senate Passes Bill Banning Abstinence-Only Education in Schools

by James Tillman

MADISON, Wisconsin, February 1, 2010 ( – Last Thursday the Wisconsin State Senate passed the “Healthy Youth Act” mandating that all sexual education classes in public schools teach about contraception. Wisconsin Governor James Doyle has said that he will sign the bill.

““There are so many dangerous aspects to AB 458, the so-called ‘Healthy Youth Act,’ that it’s difficult to know where to start,” said Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action, “but the bill’s ‘government knows best’ attitude is the root of the problem.”

The bill takes from local school boards the power to determine what would be contained in “Human Growth and Development” classes. Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin, which had been pushing for the bill, had identified several Wisconsin schools that taught abstinence-only programs.

The bill does permit school boards to elect not to offer sexual education classes, and requires those opting out to alert parents to the fact. It also requires sexual education classes to be free of “bias against pupils of any … sexual orientation … or against sexually active children.”

“The bill’s proponents justify this gross government intrusion into local affairs by pointing to an ‘epidemic’ of STI’s and teen pregnancies among our youth,” said Appling.

“AB 458’s proponents used Milwaukee’s atrocious teen pregnancy and STD rates to push for this bill. The tragic irony is that this very style of comprehensive sex education is what has been taught in the Milwaukee Public School system for well over a decade, and look where it has gotten them.”

An amendment to the bill requires schools to instruct students about the criminal penalties for under-age sex and the sex offender registration requirements. Appling admits this is an improvement: “If the state insists on teaching underage children how to engage in recreational sex, it should at least instruct them on the potential for lifelong, criminal consequences for partaking in the actions it is encouraging,” she said.

Calls to the governor’s office had not been returned at press time.

Matt Sande, director of legislation for Pro-Life Wisconsin, told LifeSiteNews that in addition to disrespecting the opinions of parents, pastors, and other local community leaders, the bill “contradicts sound science.”

A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association released today details how abstinence-only sexual education is linked to a lower rate of sexual activity among high-risk teens.

“This clinical study demonstrates that abstinence-only education programs can be very effective in curbing teen sexual activity,” said Sande. “Regrettably, the ideological and political agenda of Planned Parenthood dictates public policy in our state – and it is our kids who will suffer the consequences.”

See relates stories on

Wisconsin Ponders Replacing Abstinence-Only Program with Contraceptive Sex Ed