The Senate Education Committee Thursday approved requiring abstinence education as a part of any human sexuality or sexually transmitted diseases curriculum in public schools. The debate in committee partly focused on how much emphasis would be given to the topic in the classroom.
Bill Sponsor Stephen Meredith says the measure is about personal choices and decisions, but not about presenting an abstinence only position. “I just want to make sure that every young person knows that this is an option and it’s an acceptable option. They too do not need to be shamed because they choose to abstain from sex until they wait to get married,” said Meredith.
Four women testified against the measure. That included a mother, a teenager who had experienced rape, and a pastor, Lauren Jones Mayfield of Louisville. “We are here telling you that our realities are different from yours and I am feeling like that is being completely dismissed because it has not been your own experience,” explained Jones Mayfield. Sexual Health and Relationship Educator Sara Choate testified marginalized youth abused as children may feel shamed by this type of instruction. Among other things, the bill states abstinence from sexual activity is the only certain way to avoid out of wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and other associated health problems.