Mississippi Lawmakers Consider Altering Course

By: Ashley Conroy Email
By: Ashley Conroy Email

Last week, lawmakers in the Mississippi House passed an 'abstinence plus' program that gives parents the option for children to be taught about contraception.

Sex education in schools is a controversial topic in the state, where lawmakers say teaching students abstinence only Isn't enough.

"Just simply saying no hasn't been as effective as it should be," said Rep Greg Holloway, Democrat of Claiborne.

So lawmakers proposed the 'abstinence plus' program known as House Bill 837. It would change the current abstinence only teaching, and give parents the option of allowing their children to learn about contraceptive methods in schools.

But groups such as Students Taking A Radical Stand disagree with this approach, and are asking lawmakers to reconsider this decision.

"Comprehensive sex education programs, they have been funded at four times the level of abstinence education programs," said Larry McAdoo, program director of Students Taking A Radical Stand.

But Holloway says Mississippi has *already spent too much" with the state's high teen birth rate, and if they could reduce this number by 50 percent in the next years, the state could save millions.

"We could save at least a $130 million." said McAdoo.

Holloway says the numbers speak for themselves.

"In 2001, there were 44,000 births. In 2008, there were 48,000m" said Holloway.

Groups like STARS agree that something needs to get done. It's just a question of how Mississippi gets there.

This bill passed in the House last week and now it's headed to the Senate for review.


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