/Mississippi extends abstinence-based sex-ed

Mississippi extends abstinence-based sex-ed

The Senate approved bill 494 on Tuesday afternoon. This bill extends for five years the original 2011 sex education bill. The bill required that each local school district adopt an abstinence policy. Sally Doty (R-Brookhaven) proposed an amendment to keep the bill in force until June 30. This would allow the Senate to amend the bill and clarify some words. Doty stated that the amendment was meant to continue the discussion. She noted that 65 percent were incorrectly classified as abstinence only or abstinence plus. The bill’s controversial aspect is its inability to specify that the sex education curriculum must be evidence-based abstinence plus. These programs are statistically proven to lower the teenage birth rate, according to the Women’s Foundation. Jamie Bardwell (Deputy Director at the Women’s Foundation), stated that abstinence-only may include religious-based curriculum. Abstinence-plus doesn’t place as much emphasis on sex. Wait until you are in a committed relationship before you consider it. Evidence-based ones are more respectful of young children, less afraid, and more about relationships skills.” Doty pointed out that Mississippi has one the highest teenage birth rates in the nation, which can lead to high state costs. According to the Mississippi Department of Health, 4,417 babies were given birth to teenage mothers in 2013. Doty stated that approximately 500 babies were low-birthweight and cost $100,000. “That’s $50,000,000 that the state spends. It would be good for the state if we could lower those numbers,” Doty stated._x000D