2012 Tennessee General Assembly
8:30 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Abstinence-Centered Bill Advancing in Tennessee Senate

A measure that would require "family life education" curricula taught in Tennessee schools to be abstinence-centered is advancing in the Senate.  The measure sponsored by Republican Senator Jack Johnson unanimously passed the Senate Education Committee 9-0 Wednesday. The companion bill is scheduled to be heard in the House Education Committee next Tuesday.  The legislation has become an alternative to a proposal seeking to ban the teaching of gay issues to elementary and middle school students.  Johnson's legislation would allow the teaching of safe sex, but the curriculum would have to be "abstinence-centered," emphasizing that abstinence is withholding from "any kind of sexual contact."  Sponsors say it's also a tool to address the state's high teen pregnancy rate.