The Illinois senate voted 37-21 Wednesday in favor of legislation that would mandate comprehensive sex education in classrooms that teach sex ed, a move that would end abstinence-only programs in some schools and which has riled some religious activists. According to the Chicago Tribune, the legislation was sent to Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, a supporter of the initiative, for signature.
The new rules would still allow schools to refuse to teach sex ed, and would continue to allow parents to opt out their children out of attending such classes. However, schools would no longer be able to offer classes focused solely on abstinence or classes that do not teach about contraceptive methods, which could help students engage in safer sex practices, according to research.
Opponents of comprehensive sex ed aren’t convinced that the battle is over, however. “Our children’s innocence is truly at stake here. Exposing young children to sexually explicit material and assuming they already are or will be sexually active, will only encourage early sexual experimentation ultimately changing the course of their lives,” urged Kathy Valente, director of operations for the Illinois Family Institute, in an “urgent prayer request” on the organization’s website. “Please join us in praying that God would stop this bill.”