Target: Illinois Governor Pat Quinn
Goal: Require all school sex education classes in Illinois to include accurate information about birth control and sexually transmitted diseases
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn recently announced that he plans to sign a law that will require all schools that offer sex education in the state to teach accurate information about birth control and sexually transmitted diseases. This is a drastic change from current Illinois policy, which emphasizes abstinence-only programs. Illinois law currently says that schools that teach sex education must teach students that “abstinence is the expected norm in that abstinence from sexual intercourse is the only protection that is 100% effective against unwanted teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and acquired immune deficiency syndrome when transmitted sexually.”
A 2008 study by the University of Chicago found that 93 percent of districts in the state offer sex education and about 65 percent had what the researchers classified as comprehensive programs that included information about contraception and sexually transmitted diseases. Lawmakers and activists still believe that students in the state are not getting enough information about these critical subjects in their sex education programs. Some schools still teach strictly abstinence-only programs, which can be harmful and counterproductive.
Abstinence-only sex education curricula often do not teach students any information about contraception or abortion services. Even worse, they sometimes offer students misinformation about these topics as well as sexually transmitted diseases. For example, some abstinence-only programs will exaggerate condom failure rates as a way of telling students that using condoms isn’t nearly as safe of a measure against contracting sexually transmitted diseases as abstinence is. This kind of misinformation is harmful and can lead students to not make informed decisions about having safe sex.
This sex education policy change that the governor says he will support is critical to ensuring the sexual health and agency of the state’s young people. Making sex education more comprehensive will provide students with more information about important things like contraception and sexually transmitted diseases. Sign the petition below to encourage the governor to sign the bill into law immediately.
Dear Governor Pat Quinn,
The recent bill that will require all schools that offer sex education in Illinois to also teach accurate information about contraception and sexually transmitted diseases is a very important change to the state’s current policy. Current law emphasizes abstinence and allows schools to teach abstinence-only sex education programs that often spread misinformation about condoms, abortion, and sexually transmitted diseases.
It is imperative that you sign this bill into law immediately so that schools that give students inaccurate and biased information about contraception can be stopped. This new policy will improve the sexual health and agency of students in the state and make sex education more inclusive.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Bryancalabro via WikiMedia Commons