IN THE COMMENTS: Why so many comments? There's a lot of discussion of abstinence education, and I'd just like to say that you should not assume from my post that I don't support abstinence education. I do. Here's my old post on the subject from last November:
[A] bill requiring a stronger abstinence message is about to pass the legislature here. (What the governor will do is another matter.)So, there's a distinction between the importance of teaching young people about abstinence and the political posturing that is going on. I don't blame Governor Doyle here though. He didn't start this one. He was set up.
The bill ... would require school districts that offer sex education programs to "present abstinence from sexual activity as the preferred choice of behavior" for unmarried students....
The current state law simply lists more than a dozen topics that districts "may include" in their sex education instruction but does not stress one as more important than others. The word "abstinence" does not appear, although "discouragement of adolescent sexual activity" is one of the topics districts can choose to include.
Should the legislature be requiring all the schools in the state to push abstinence as "the preferred choice of behavior"? The culture varies from place to place around the state, so I don't like a statewide requirement that goes this far, even though I think it's important for young people to hear a strong presentation of the case for abstinence. Shouldn't local school districts decide this one rather than posturing state legislators?