Bill Would Update Sex Education In SC Schools -

Bill Would Update Sex Education In SC Schools

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Two Republican legislators say South Carolina's 25-year-old law on sex education must be updated to decrease teen pregnancy and the generational poverty it brings.

Rep. B.R. Skelton said at a news conference Tuesday he sponsored the measure out of compassion and economic concerns.

The bill calls for teaching "medically accurate and factual" lessons on reproductive health and pregnancy prevention to high school students. Under the measure, the teacher must be certified in health education.

"I feel like they should know," said parent Shirley Gibson. "And the parents and the teachers should let them know more about sex."

"I think they go a little bit too far," said parent Tee Rucker. "I think they should leave a lot of things to the parents."

Parents may have different opinions, but the state says teen pregnancy is a problem that's costing tax payers. According to the state, teen pregnancies cost South Carolina $200 million each year.

"If we can lower that rate, we can lower Medicare costs because all of those kids could be on Medicaid if they have an unplanned pregnancy," said Rep. Jenny Horne(R-Summerville)

The law would still require that reproductive health education include lessons on abstinence. Lessons would also include information on contraception as a way to prevent unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.

Rep. Horne disputes the notion that such education promotes risky behavior. She says teens given accurate information on their bodies delay or avoid sex.

REACH Upstate, an educational program for teens, agrees. REACH Executive Director Valerie Kirby teens have a lot of myths on sex and pregnancy.

"There are so many untruths they learn through their music, television, texting and sexting," said Kirby.

Kirby also agrees it is important for parents to talk to their teens about sex and making healthy choices. She says parent should education themselves first and be prepared for any questions.

Kirby says parents should use real terms and not "made-up" names. Parents shouldn't just have one talk, but keep a dialogue going.

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