South Carolina expands sex education curriculum

This past Tuesday members of a South Carolina County School Board debated the design of a new sexual education curriculum. “Making Proud Choices!” is a new curriculum that focuses on abstinence as an effective form of birth control but doesn’t discredit other forms such as contraceptives and condoms as alternatives to preventing pregnancies. Both proponents and opponents showed up to debate what students should and should not be learning.

H 3435 would amend the comprehensive Health Education Act, passed in 1988, to expand the sexual education curriculum and revise the standards and rules set by the act over 20 years ago. Some of the standards set by the act include: requiring high schools “to teach at least 750 minutes of reproductive health and pregnancy prevention with a strong emphasis on abstinence and the ‘risks associated with sexual activity outside of marriage’”, forbidding the distribution of condoms or any other form of contraception, and prohibits any discussion of alternative sexual lifestyles’ (unless referring to STIs). H 3435 brings a more modern approach to sex education by providing students with medically accurate information in addition to informing them on all options available to ensure safe sex and avoid unintended pregnancies.

The bill was first introduced by South Carolina Republican State House Representative B.R. Skelton. Skelton states his hope that by expanding sex education it will “decrease teen pregnancies a little bit and decrease STDs a little bit.” The bill has received bipartisan support in the South Carolina House with support by Republican Representatives Horne and Crawford and Democrat Representatives J.E. Smith, Cobb-Hunter, and Knight. Republican Representative Horne supports the bill due to its scientifically backed information by stating, “Since when did sex education become a political issue? […] It shouldn’t be; it should be scientific.”

It is important to provide kids, particularly at a formative age, with the proper information to help them make safe and smart decisions. Education and awareness are proven to be key factors in preventing unintended pregnancies and STIs and “Making Proud Choices!” is advancing that concept further.

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