Wis. Legislature approves abstinence

March 14, 2012 at 2:21 PM
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MADISON, Wis., March 14 (UPI) -- A bill that requires Wisconsin public schools that provide sex education to teach the virtues of abstinence received final legislative approval Wednesday.

The measure, which passed the state Assembly shortly after midnight, now goes to Gov. Scott Walker, who is expected to sign it, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Only two Democrats joined all Republicans in supporting it.

The Assembly also passed a bill late Tuesday that would limit coverage of abortion in insurance provided through state exchanges. Abortions would be covered only if they are to save a woman's life or health or in cases where the child was conceived by rape or incest.

The sex education bill replaces one passed in 2010 that specifically bans "abstinence-only" teaching. The new bill does not require schools to offer information on birth control, although they can add that to the curriculum. But courses, if they are offered, must teach that abstinence is the only reliable way to prevent pregnancy and must emphasize the importance of marriage.

Both opponents and supporters of the bill cited a drop in teen pregnancy in Milwaukee from 52 per 1,000 teenagers in 2006 to 35.7 per 1,000 in 2010. One side credited a sex-education program adopted in 2008 that includes information on both abstinence and birth control while the other said it was the emphasis on abstinence.

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