Linda Holmes: “In fantasy land, we teach our kids abstinence—and they listen.”
On Wednesday, the Illinois state Senate passed HB 2675, a bill that requires state public schools offering sex education to include information on contraception and STDs. The bill passed by a vote of 37-21, and Gov. Pat Quinn (D) is expected to sign it.
According to Think Progress, abstinence-only education is not only ineffective but unrealistic since “even the Americans who grow up in socially conservative communities aren’t delaying sex until marriage—by some estimates, 80% of unmarried evangelical Christians have had sex at least once.” 60% of young adults not only underestimate birth control’s effectiveness but are less likely to use it because they do not believe it will work because abstinence-only education provides insufficient and often misleading information.
“In Fantasy Land, we teach our kids abstinence—and they listen,” said Illinois state Sen. Linda Holmes (D). “But we know they don’t necessarily follow that advice. They are going to be confronted with the issue of sex before they’re 21 years old, or 25, or whenever they decide to get married.”
Many Illinois schools have been teaching abstinence, but when the new bill is signed, they will be required to have comprehensive, “age-appropriate, medically accurate, evidence-based” discussions about sex.
While the bill requires schools that teach sex-ed to teach about contraception and STDs, districts are still given the choice to teach sex-ed at all, and even in schools where it is taught, parents have the right to take their teenagers out of the classes.
Opponents to the bill have argued that instead of teaching more about sex with the assumption that kids will have sex, we should not give up on teaching our kids not to have sex.
“There are a lot of things that happen in America that we don’t agree with that used to not happen, but we sort of give up on it,” state Sen. Dave Luechtefeld (R) said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “And in the meantime our standards get lower and lower and our culture has more problems.”
Read more about Sex Ed on The Good Men Project: