SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS/WBBM) — Legislation that would have required contraception to be discussed along with abstinence in Illinois sex ed classes has failed in the state Senate.
As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Michele Fiore reports, the Personal Responsibility Education Program Act would have removed a provision that “emphasized that abstinence is the expected norm,” and would have required a discussion of both abstinence and contraception.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Michele Fiore reports
It also would have removed the reference to marriage as being the only appropriate time when abstinence could cease.
The measure fell one vote short in a 29-26 count Tuesday.
State Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) said students need to hear about condoms to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.
But conservative groups say school is not the place to discuss premarital sex. In a March 22 posting on its Web site, the conservative religious group the Illinois Family Institute complains that changes to sex education might “normalize sexual immorality and perversion,” particularly because children might learn about same-sex relationships.
The group lists several quotes from the 2004 revised document Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education and warns that “unless conservatives create a firestorm of opposition, this is what’s coming to Illinois.”
Among the quotes the group picked out from the much larger document are a suggestion that boys and girls ages 5-8 can learn that “human beings can love people of the same gender and people of another gender.” The institute also notes that suggested curriculum for older ages emphasizes the consequences of discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender role stereotypes, and the basis of sexual orientation being “a person’s attractions, fantasies and sexual behaviors.”
Among the many other subjects suggested for discussion in the 2004 document are body image, families, relationship behaviors, bullying and harassment. But Steans’ bill does not address the document the institute cites or any of its suggestions either way.
Still, the Illinois Family Institute points out that Steans supported the successful civil unions bill last year, and her district includes the Boystown neighborhood.
“Clearly, Steans has an unholy mission to transform the social, political, and legal landscape of Illinois, and her presumptuous scheme now includes Illinois children,” the institute said.
Under Steans’ bill, schools would not be forced to offer sex education.
Steans held the failed legislation back for another vote.
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