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Quinn Expected to Sign New Sex Education Bill

Measure includes teaching students about birth control

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    NEWSLETTERS

    With what seems to have been very little controversy over such a heated topic, the Illinois Senate on Wednesday passed a bill that would change the way Illinois public schools teach sex education.

    Under the bill, which passed on a vote of 37-21, public schools that offer sex education would have to provide information about birth control, the Chicago Tribune reported. Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign the legislation.

    Currently, schools are only required to teach abstinence or a combination of abstinence and safe sex practices, if they offer sex education at all.

    Under the new bill, schools and parents could opt out of the requirement if they chose to do so.

    "Abstinence-only is not effective," Democratic Sen. Heather Steans, a bill sponsor, said during floor debate. "Abstinence-only education does not have the same impact."

    She and others including Chicago Democratic Sen. Mattie Hunter said young people would be better served with all the information possible.

    However, opponents — several Republicans and the conservative Illinois Family Institute among them — objected to the bill saying that abstinence-only programs teach valuable principles. Some lawmakers claimed the bill would affect school districts' local control.

    Illinois Board of Education officials said they do not track how many of the roughly 860 school districts teach sex education since it's not required.

    Associated Press contributed to this report.