CHICAGO - For decades, Illinois' sex education focus was on presenting the basics to school children while encouraging abstinence until marriage. State and federal agencies subsidized abstinence promoting sex education groups such as Project Reality, headed then by the now-retired conservative activist Kathleen Sullivan.
When President Bush left office, his administration's priority of teaching abstinence also departed federal policy. But even before the Obama Administration's takeover in 2009, Illinois anti-abstinence groups such as Planned Parenthood had already succeeded in cutting off substantial abstinence assistance. Sullivan's tireless efforts to keep abstinence as the forefront in public school sex ed classes were unable to be duplicated and continued after she retired and moved to Florida from Illinois. Immediately, abstinence education funding began spiralling down.
Last Friday, after years of sparring with Sullivan, abstinence opposers won a major victory in Illinois, when Governor Pat Quinn signed into law a bill mandating public schools teach birth control as equal to abstinence in their sex education classes. Quinn's office did not issue a statement at the signing, but Planned Parenthood of Illinois was on hand, celebrating the unbridled access their sex philosophy will have on government-funded schools.
HB 2675 creates a standard for existing sexual health education courses taught in public schools grades 6-12. It provides medically accurate, age-appropriate, complete information on reducing STIs and unintended pregnancies including information on abstinence, contraception, healthy relationships and boundary setting.
While it is still to be decided exactly how "medically accurate, age-appropriate and complete" will be deternined, other states look to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists for their direction. However, Planned Parenthood appears not to be concerned about that. About the signing of HB 2675 into law last week, Carole Brite, Planned Parenthood of Illinois President and CEO said:
"Planned Parenthood applauds Governor Pat Quinn for signing a law that ensures that teens in Illinois have access to medically accurate, evidence based, age appropriate, comprehensive information when they receive sex education in Illinois public schools. Research shows that comprehensive sex education that includes information about abstinence and contraception delays sexual activity among youth and increases the use of effective protection against unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections when sexual activity occurs. Planned Parenthood of Illinois is committed to working with Illinois public schools to implement this law."
What type of topics does Planned Parenthood plan to offer to kids in grades 6 through 12 as they return to school this week? The American Life League reports Planned Parenthood's ideas may be surprising to parents:
How did the Illinois House and Senate vote on HB 2675?
In the Illinois House, HB 2675 was sponsored by Rep. Camille Y. Lilly - Robyn Gabel - Elaine Nekritz - Naomi D. Jakobsson - Sara Feigenholtz, Laura Fine, Marcus C. Evans, Jr., Elgie R. Sims, Jr., Cynthia Soto, Emanuel Chris Welch, Kelly M. Cassidy,Christian L Mitchell, Deborah Mell, Barbara Flynn Currie, Maria Antonia Berrios, William Davis, Lou Lang, Thaddeus Jones, Ann Williams, Deborah Conroy, Jehan A. Gordon-Booth, Carol A. Sente, Linda Chapa LaVia, Keith Farnham, Scott Drury, Esther Golar, Mike Smiddy, Elizabeth Hernandez and Kenneth Dunkin.
How did House members vote? While several Democrats voted no, only two Republicans - Kay Hatcher (R-Aurora) and Tom Cross (R-Plainfield) - supported switching to Planned Parenthood's endorsed sex education philosophy.
And in the Senate? Sponsors were: Sen. Heather A. Steans - Linda Holmes - Mattie Hunter - Kwame Raoul, Emil Jones, III, Melinda Bush, Iris Y. Martinez, Daniel Biss, Toi W. Hutchinson, Donne E. Trotter, Kimberly A. Lightford and William Delgado - all Democrats.
The Illinois Senate Republicans opposed the measure as a bloc with a couple of Downstate Democrats added in:
Some see the new "medically accurate" sex education as simply a taxpayer-funded, in-school advertisement and invite to the local Planned Parenthood clinics, where teens will learn they have unquestioned access to birth control of all types - and in most cases, it will be "free."
Here's the listing of birth control methods Planned Parenthood's version of sex ed is likely to introduce to your 6 through 12 graders at school next year:
Sex education in Illinois may be opted out of with a parent's permission, but the parent must seek the opt out, as it is not offered via the school's parental notification beforehand.